Broadcast on tape-delay Friday night, the Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang received 27.8 million viewers, down 12% from the Sochi Games four years ago, but up 2% from the Rio Summer Games in 2016.
“The Opening Ceremony was a terrific show, which we hope will only be topped by the excitement generated by the athletes and competition over the next few weeks,” said Mark Lazarus, chairman of NBC Broadcasting and Sports. “American audiences continue to be interested and excited for the Games, and the early consumption results show that our multiple platform strategy is dominating the media landscape.”
The 27.8 million viewers was the largest Friday night audience in television since the Sochi Opening Ceremony four years ago, topping four World Series games, two NBA finals games, three Olympic nights from Rio in 2016 and two nights of the Sochi Olympics.
Total audience delivery brought Friday’s Opening Ceremony viewership to 28.3 million, with a 449,000 digital audience. Even when using the TAD number, PyeongChang’s Opening Ceremonies failed to top Sochi’s in 2014 which was not live streamed. In terms of Opening Ceremonies that were not broadcast live, PyeongChang’s audience ranks third behind Lillehammer in 1994 with 33.8 million viewers and Sochi with 31.7 million viewers.
Saturday night’s day one coverage of the Olympics on NBC generated an audience of 21.4 million during the 8-11:10PM ET window, down 15% from Sochi in 2014 and 20% from Vancouver in 2010. When adding viewership from digital streaming and NBC Sports Network, the total audience delivery number jumps to 24.2 million, which is still down from the 25.1 million watching NBC on Sochi’s first Saturday.