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Saturday, March 2, 2024

Olympic Ratings on Pace for All-Time Lows

  • The Olympics are on pace for the lowest ratings in the history of the Winter Games.
  • Comcast is also broadcasting the Super Bowl.
Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports/Design: Alex Brooks

The Beijing Games may set an unfortunate world record: the lowest viewership in Winter Olympics history.

Thus far, an average of 12.3 million viewers per night have watched the Games on NBC, Peacock, and other Comcast-owned channels. The 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, nearly doubled that total with 23 million average viewers at the same point.

  • NBC anticipated a 40% ratings drop and lowered ad prices accordingly.
  • The network has been able to compensate for lower prices with higher volume: Comcast is showing the Games on TikTok and its flagship streaming service Peacock, as well as its linear broadcast channels.
  • Some Olympic corporate partners have been caught between the desire for brand exposure and the fear of appearing tone deaf to human rights allegations against China.

Big Game Bundle

Comcast also has rights to Super Bowl LVI, making this a crucial month for Peacock. The service grew to 24.5 million monthly active users and 9 million paying subscribers at the end of 2021.

Peacock brought in $778 million in revenue last year, up from $118 million in 2020, but its losses increased to $1.7 billion from $663 million over that span.

Unlike the Olympics, Comcast has been able to charge record prices for the Super Bowl, garnering around $7 million for 30-second spots.

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