Thursday primetime coverage of the games reached just 7.25 million viewers. Last year’s Summer Olympics also struggled to draw in ratings, but still did better than that. The previous low was set this summer during the final night of the competition. It drew in around a million more people with 8.5 million viewers tuning in.
According to Outkick, these numbers are down 55% from 2018 and 64% from 2014. It’s normal to see a drop in ratings each year due to people continuing to cut their cable plans. However, this is a pretty stark drop. Outkick and other sources have theorized this is in part due to a boycott against the games due to the genocide against Muslim Uyghurs in China.
Numbers also took a stark dive this Summer. In part, this is because it happened a year later than it was supposed to. Many fans didn’t even know to tune in. That could also be a problem this year, as it’s incredibly rare to get two Olympic games within the same year.
More on the Winter Olympics Boycott
The 2022 Beijing Olympics have been embroiled in controversy. Many are incredibly concerned with the IOC’s decision to host the games in Beijing, despite the human rights abuses. In a 2020 letter to the IOC, the World Uyghur Congres urged the IOC not to host the Games in Beijing.
In a statement to Reuters, the IOC declared that they have to remain neutral on all political issues. Of course, opposition to the IOC feels that they are doing anything but being neutral by hosting the games in Beijing.
In December 2021, the Biden administration announced that they would not send diplomatic or official representation to the Winter Olympic Games.
“The Biden administration will not send any diplomatic or official representation to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games given [China’s] ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.
“The athletes on Team USA have our full support. We will be behind them 100 percent as we cheer them on from home. We will not be contributing to the fanfare of the Games. U.S. diplomatic or official representation would treat these Games as business as usual in the face of [China’s] egregious human rights abuses and atrocities in Xinjiang, and we simply can’t do that.”