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Winter Olympics Viewed by 160M Americans

NBC Olympics
(Image credit: NBC Olympics)

NEW YORK—While TV ratings for the 2022 Beijing Olympics were the worst of any Winter Games, NBCUniversal is reporting that 160 Million Americans watched the Beijing Olympics across NBCUniversal platforms and that streaming audiences set a record for the Winter Olympics. 

Overall, a record 4.3 billion minutes were consumed across NBCUniversal digital and social media platforms. That figure includes 3.9 billion minutes of Beijing Olympics content streamed across Peacock, NBCOlympics.com, and the NBC Sports app – up 78% from the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics. NBCUniversal’s Beijing Olympics coverage delivered 6 of the 10 most-streamed primetime presentations in Olympics history.

The Games also generally outperformed other programming on TV. NBC Olympics’ nightly coverage delivered a Total Audience Delivery of 11.4 million viewers and was the most watched primetime show of 2021-22 except for NFL coverage, the company reported. 

The Games also boosted USA Network, which was the most-watched sports and entertainment cable network in primetime and total day throughout the games.

In addition, Peacock, which was the streaming home of every Olympics event for the first time, recorded its best 18-day span of usage during the Games.

In a statement, Mark Lazarus, chairman, NBCUniversal Television and Streaming said that “over the course of the Games, we delivered what was promised to our advertising partners and delivered unmatched promotion for our company.”

“NBCUniversal’s presentation of the Beijing Olympics dominated across all platforms and once again showed that nothing captivates Americans for 18 consecutive days and nights like the Olympic Games,” Lazarus also said. “The power of the NBC broadcast network delivered large audiences every night, while USA Network registered the best two-week stretch of any sports and entertainment cable network. With sharply increased signups, usage and awareness, Peacock streamed every Olympic moment for the first time ever and delivered a user experience that was greatly enhanced from just six months ago.”

The company also stressed that since the beginning of the Tokyo Olympics, NBC has topped primetime far more than any other broadcast network: In the 213 nights from the Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony on July 23, 2021, through last night’s Beijing Olympics Closing Ceremony, NBC ranked #1 in primetime among broadcast networks 93 times (44% of the nights), 35 on Olympics nights. 

The new iSpot metrics used by NBCU for the games, found that the 2022 Beijing Olympics averaged 1 billion ad impressions per day, generating 96 billion ad impressions for Adults 18+ over the full 18 days.

NBC Olympics primetime Winter Games presentation had a 22% lighter ad load and delivered 262% more ad impressions per unit than the other three broadcast networks combined., NBCU reported. TV ads during the Winter Games had a 98% completion rate.

NBCU also reported more than 1 billion impressions of NBC Olympics’ content across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok, with a 69% increase in video views across all social platforms over the PyeongChang Olympics. 

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.