Update: The final numbers are in, and NBC has reason to be pleased. The network averaged 21.6 million viewers per night for its primetime coverage, up six percent from the last European Olympics in Torino in 2006. The complete release is below.
I refrained from using these Al Michaels quotes during an interview I did with him prior to the Olympics. I didn’t want to put a hex on the Games.
But Michaels, a Olympics veteran for ABC and NBC, downplayed all the forecasts of doom and gloom in Sochi.
“Everyone is always worried,” Michaels said. “Will the weather be good? Will everything get done in time? What about terrorism? People even were asking me, ‘Are they going to put you in a Gulag?
“Every Olympics I’ve done, people say, ‘It’s going to be horrible.’ You know what? It’s always works out pretty well. There’s something about the world coming together and you see the best of the best.”
Michaels was right. Despite all the attempt by the Russians to screw things up, the Games won again. And for 2 1/2 weeks, the Five Rings captivated America, just like they always do.
Where else but the Olympics does the country stop on a Thursday afternoon for women’s hockey? And then for the following afternoon for men’s hockey?
I was in a Mediterranean restaurant on Friday night, and I heard the owner, a native of the Mideast, telling a table the back story about a European skiier. Again, where else but the Olympics?
As NBC’s ratings show, where else does a nation tune in night after and night, not to mention take in live streaming on their computer or mobile device, but during the Olympics?
Yes, the Olympics have many flaws, and NBC’s coverage could go over the top at times. But nevertheless we lock in that ski jumper or speedskater or figure skater, athletes we didn’t care about before and won’t after, because we know that this is their once-every-four-year moment to achieve a measure of immorality in their sports. For many athletes, it will be a once-in-a-lifetime moment.
The highs and lows are so powerful and dramatic, and so unique to the Olympics. We may not have a clue of what we’re watching sometimes, but we all know what it means to win a gold medal. We can see it their faces.
Dan Levy in Bleacher Report, who had been highly skeptical prior to the Games, wrote a piece suggesting the Olympics should be held every year.
I would rather write about freestyle skiing than the hand sizes of NFL prospects, and I love the NFL. Sometimes it’s good to give other sports our attention. Some of these sports are really great, too.
Besides, there is human interest at the Olympics. There is a spirit that always manages to transcend athletic competition that we don’t usually get in domestic fixtures.
And part of the fun of the Olympics is finding those untold stories of great athletes from every corner of the globe doing incredible things to achieve their dreams. There are people who spend their entire lives trying to win a medal in a niche sport with very little funding because they flat-out love to compete. Why shouldn’t we celebrate that more than we do?
Why can’t we highlight something that amazing every year?
Levy gives the pros and cons of his idea. Regardless, the logistics of staging the Games would make it impossible to accelerate the time frame.
I’m fine with the Olympics remaining on a four-year cycle. You do need that gap to make the quest for gold feel more momentous.
Thankfully, with the Winter and Summer Games now staggered, we won’t have to wait another four years for Olympics. The 2016 Summer Games in Rio are just 2 1/2 years away.
And it won’t be long before we hear about how construction in Rio is woefully behind, etc…
Let the countdown begin.
NBC concluded its coverage of the XXII Olympic Winter Games from Sochi, Russia with its two primetime telecasts – the Closing Ceremony and the special Nancy & Tonya documentary – ranking #1 and #2 on broadcast television in household rating and average viewership, according to live plus same day fast national data released today by The Nielsen Company.
The Closing Ceremony (8:33-10:36 p.m. ET) averaged 15.1 million viewers and an 8.7 household rating/13 share – both #1 in broadcast primetime. The Sochi Games Closing Ceremony also topped by 2% the viewership for the 2006 Torino Games (14.8 million).
The Nancy & Tonya documentary (7-8:33 p.m. ET), in which Mary Carillo looked back at the events surrounding the ladies’ figure skating competition at the 1994 Olympic Winter Games and featured an exclusive sit-down with Nancy Kerrigan and a one-on-one interview with Tonya Harding, ranked second in broadcast primetime with 12.7 million viewers and a 7.8 household rating/12 share.
The Closing Ceremony for the 2006 Torino Winter Games averaged 14.8 million viewers with an 8.9 household rating/13 share. The 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony – which followed that afternoon’s dramatic overtime Team USA-Canada men’s gold medal hockey game – averaged 21.4 million viewers with a 12.1 household rating/19 share.
For the Sochi Winter Olympics from the Opening Ceremony on Feb. 7 through the Closing Ceremony, NBC averaged 21.4 million viewers for its primetime Sochi Olympics coverage – up 6% from the 20.2 million average for the last European Winter Games in Torino in 2006. NBC’s 12.3 household rating/20 share for primetime also topped the Torino Games (12.2 household rating/19 share). NBC’s primetime coverage of the live (ET/CT) 2010 Vancouver Games averaged 24.4 million viewers with a 13.8 household rating/23 share.
**NOTE** – Complete Olympic ratings, viewership and digital metrics will be released Tuesday.
TOP 10 METERED MARKETS FOR SUNDAY’S CLOSING CEREMONY ON NBC
|2. Ft. Myers||13.5/19|
|3. Salt Lake City||13.3/24|
|9. West Palm Beach||11.8/18|