TV Ratings for Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony Down 10% from Sochi

AP Shinichiro Tanaka
AP Photo/Shinichiro Tanaka

Ratings for the Winter Olympics opening ceremony and the first few days of broadcasts are in, and the results are not good news for NBC as ratings have fallen significantly from four years ago.

The numbers show that the opening ceremonies for the PyeongChang, South Korea, Winter Games saw a ratings dip over the 2014 games in Sochi, Russia.  “Viewership for the PyeongChang Opening Ceremony was down over 10% compared to Sochi’s Opening Ceremony. The number of viewers dropped from 31.7 viewers to 28.3 viewers according to Deadline,” Awful Announcing reported.

“These numbers come off another dip from the Sochi games on the night before the Opening Ceremony. Those ratings from the first night of the PyeongChang Games were down a whopping 22% compared to four years ago.”

This means that ratings are going to have to improve over the next two weeks as the games continue if NBC is to reach its viewership goals. But that is not generally seen historically. In general, ratings fall from the opening ceremony to the closing days as the high profile competitions finish and the viewers tire of the coverage.

With the ratings dip, the news is also not welcome in the halls of NBC’s headquarters since the peacock network paid $963 million for broadcast rights for the Winter Games in PyeongChang. This year’s fee is a 24 percent hike over the $775 million paid for rights to air the 2014 games in Sochi, Russia.

NBC is stuck with the deal, though, because it negotiated Olympics broadcast rights through the year 2032 in a reported $7.32 billion agreement. This deal is itself a 16 percent hike over the past $4.38 billion deal NBC wrangled for the previous four games.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.


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