NBC Sees Olympics Ratings Skyrocket During Opening Saturday Coverage

by Amy Myers

While fans are avidly watching their nations and athletes compete in the Olympics, NBC is keeping just as close of a watch on the ratings. After a promising turnout for the opening ceremony, the network has more good news to share about the games’ viewership.

Despite the already high numbers during Day 0 of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, total audience delivery jumped 26% during Day 1. Unlike regular TV ratings, total audience delivery accounts for viewers from linear broadcast, cable channels, mobile, tablets and connected TVs. This is to account for all of the viewers using streaming services to access the games. The network had a total of 15.3 million viewers from the night.

Before the start of the Olympics, NBC faced some obstacles to overcome in its ratings. Now more than ever, streaming services are taking over TVs across the world. Viewers are quickly evicting cable from their households. Instead, they’re opting for services with more flexibility and variety while receiving less advertisements and smaller monthly bills.

Because of the drastic change, there was no telling just how much streaming services would impact NBC’s ratings during the Olympics. However, NBC has a failsafe that already seems to have positively impacted its ratings.

NBC Breaks Network Records During the Olympics with Streaming Service, Peacock

Like many popular networks, NBC hopped on the streaming bandwagon and created a service of their own called Peacock. With the service, subscribers can access shows and features across NBCUniversal, including NBC, USA Network, NBCSN and CNBC. In order to gain more viewers, NBC made many of the Olympic games and events available exclusively on Peacock.

With that in mind, it’s not a huge surprise that the network saw a double-digit increase in total audience delivery during the Olympics. But the good news for NBC doesn’t stop there. Peacock saw its most consumed Saturday since its launch in 2020. Although NBC didn’t give any specifics, we can imagine that the final tally of viewers was just as impressive as its total audience delivery.

Like its sister stations, NBC Sports Digital broke a network record, too. The station captivated 648,000 viewers per minute, making it the most-streamed Olympics primetime event ever. And even though streaming services only became relatively popular within the last few years, we still consider that a pretty big accomplishment. In fact, viewers streamed the 2020 Tokyo Olympics 21% more than the same day as the Rio Olympics, equating to 371 million total minutes.

With the help of Peacock, NBC no doubt will continue breaking network records for the remainder of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. As the stakes become higher, more viewers will surely be signing up as subscribers to the streaming service. Now, if only they gave out medals for the most popular streaming networks.