Olympics 2016 ratings: Gap with London narrows, still down double digits

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Going into the final few days of the 2016 Summer Olympics, the ratings picture for NBC has brightened some. The games are still down a good amount from the 2012 Olympics, but the margin has shrunk some over the past week.

Through Tuesday — the last day for which final numbers are available — prime-time coverage of the Olympics has averaged 26.78 million viewers on NBC and 28.58 million with NBC Sports Network, Bravo and live streaming included. That’s a 17 percent decline from London 2012 for the NBC-only figure and an 11 percent dip for the all-in number:

Day 2016 total audience (millions) 2016 NBC only (millions) 2012 total audience (millions) 2016 total HH rating 2012 total HH rating
Opening ceremony (Fri.) 26.5 26.5 40.7 13.9 21.0
1st Sat. 23.5 20.6 28.7 13.0 15.8
1st Sun. 31.8 29.8 36.0 17.3 19.8
1st Mon. 31.5 28.9 31.6 18.1 18.0
1st Tues. 36.1 33.4 38.7 20.5 21.8
1st Weds. 28.6 26.4 30.8 16.5 17.9
1st Thurs. 33.0 31.2 36.8 18.9 21.1
2nd Fri. 26.0 24.0 28.5 15.0 16.2
2nd Sat. 26.8 25.5 28.0 15.0 15.9
2nd Sun. 28.1 26.7 31.3 15.8 17.5
2nd Mon. 25.5 24.2 26.6 14.9 15.8
2nd Tues. 25.6 24.1 30.1 14.3 17.6
Averages 28.58 26.78 32.32 16.1 18.2

Note: 2012 figures are NBC only as there was no live streaming or simultaneous cable coverage in primetime. Source: NBC/The Nielsen Company.

After five days, these Olympics were down 21 percent vs. 2012 on NBC only and 15 percent overall. London was NBC’s highest-rated Summer Olympics stated outside the United States.

Household ratings — which measure the percentage of the TV-watching public tuning in, irrespective of population growth in the past four years — are also down about 11 percent vs. 2012.

The gap among 18- to 49-year-old viewers, however, remains pretty wide: Through Tuesday, NBC’s 7.7 rating in the demographic was 25 percent behind the 10.3 average through 12 days in 2012. That’s a small improvement over the 27-percent gap (8.2 vs. 11.2) after the first five days.

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