For Team USA, Shaun White, Chloe Kim, Jamie Anderson and the entire women’s hockey team have been among the gold medal winners in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. But back home, one of the big winners of this year’s Olympics is NBC10.
The Olympics have been a ratings boon for NBC’s Philadelphia affiliate. According to numbers provided by NBC, the station’s Olympics coverage is up 73 percent compared to its pre-Olympics programing among adults 25 to 54, the key demographic for advertisers.
NBC10’s newscasts have also been big winners. NBC10 News at 11 p.m. is up 71 percent in the demo, ranking No. 1 in the Philadelphia market. Among all households, the local newscast is up 59 percent, averaging 155,000 households. And the station’s early-morning news broadcast (which begins at 4 a.m.) is up 34 percent.
Nationally, the picture is a bit more nuanced. Ratings are certainly down from the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, but so are ratings across all of broadcast television. Even the NFL saw its ratings decline about 10 percent over the course of the 2017 season.
Overall, NBC and NBC Sports Network are bringing in an average combined audience (which includes live, digital and out-of-home viewing) of 20.8 million in primetime. That’s down more than 8 percent from the 22.6 million people who tuned in nightly to watch the Sochi Olympics, where no competitive events aired in primetime and NBCSN didn’t have any primetime Olympics coverage.
One area where NBC has definitely experienced a viewership decline is men’s hockey, thanks in part to the NHL’s decision to ban players from representing their home countries during this year’s Olympics. In an interview earlier this week with Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch, NBC Broadcasting and Sports chairman Mark Lazarus admitted that hockey ratings were significantly down compared with Sochi.
“Listen, I think it is bad for hockey everywhere. Our numbers are off and if you look at the [regional sports network] numbers for every NHL team over this week-long period, at least when I looked at it, all but two teams were off versus a year ago in this window,” Lazarus said. “So it is not good for anybody’s hockey ratings.”
Regardless, averaging about 20 million viewers a night is quite an accomplishment, given the state of television. According to Lazarus, NBC has sold more than $900 million in advertising on broadcast television, cable and digital platforms.
One area the Pyeongchang Olympics has far outpaced Sochi is in streaming numbers. As of Friday afternoon, NBC had streamed 1.68 billion live minutes of Olympics events, four times the 420 million live minutes streamed during the entire 2014 Sochi Games.