2020 Tokyo Olympics Ratings Soar on Streaming Platform as They Continue to Nosedive on NBC Network

by Jon D. B.

The future is now: NBC’s streaming rankings for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics are at a 72% increase over 2016’s Rio Summer Olympics.

The news is a double-edged sword, however. This massive increase is good for NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming service. But it doesn’t overshadow the fact that the network has posted its lowest overall viewership numbers for the Olympics in 33 years.

Let’s break down the numbers courtesy of Front Office Sports and Bloomberg:

“Including streaming, NBC’s Olympics audience dropped 36% to 17 million viewers,” FOS states.

By comparison, 2016’s Rio Opening Ceremony held an audience of 26.5 million people. Before that, London’s 2012 ceremony attracted a remarkable 40.7 million viewers.

It is worth noting, however, that NBCUniversal’s streaming service, Peacock, would not launch until last year in 2020. As such, The former streaming numbers come courtesy of NBC’s Olympics site, alongside their NBC Sports app.

NBC, which is owned by Comcast, did see an increase in viewership as the events continued into the week. Olympic audiences would increase 24%, Bloomberg cites, on Saturday. This increase is over the comparative day during 2016’s Rio events. This jump was enough to grant NBCUniversal’s Peacock their most-watched Saturday since launching their streaming service.

Will Advertisers See Return On $1 Billion Olympics Investment?

All in all, the above is “a good sign for Olympic advertisers,” Front Office Sports says. Why? Said advertisers have spent “approximately $1 billion for the Tokyo Games.” And without eyeballs on the games – it was all for nothing.

It remains to be seen, however, if the delayed 2020 games will continue to pick up steam. Everything from a lack of audiences to Japan’s nature completely revolting has plagued the Olympics so far. Which is awful for the athletes and Olympic Organization. If it all fails, though, NBC will be fronting the bill.

According to The New York Times, NBCUniversal spent around $12billion+ for the media rights to the Olympics – stretching all the way through 2032.

If the math is done, a $1 billion payday from advertisers in a single year seems a good sign. But the Summer Olympics only come once every 4 years. The same goes for the Winter Olympics – giving NBCU an event every two years to recoup their unimaginable investment.

So when huge shake-ups happen – like Simone Biles shock-exit from the gymnastic finals – NBC is either sweating bullets, or singing the praises of unforeseen drama.

“Physically, I feel good, I’m in shape. Emotionally, that kind of varies on the time and moment,” Biles says of her state Tuesday. “Coming here to the Olympics and being the head star isn’t an easy feat, so we’re just trying to take it one day at a time and we’ll see.”

Moreover, Team USA just lost their first Olympic basketball game since 2004. In the year that Space Jam returns, no less!

Thankfully, the US is still one of the countries leading the games regardless with 14 medals – seven of which are gold so far.