Final tally: ‘Vancouver Olympics’ gold for NBC



Vancouver Second Most-Watched Winter Olympics in History, Surpasses Total Games Viewership for Salt Lake City

Vancouver Olympics on NBC Delivers More Viewers Than the Other Three Networks Combined

190 million Americans watched the Vancouver Olympics on the networks of NBC Universal, making them the second-most watched Winter Olympics ever, surpassing Salt Lake City (187 million) and ranked behind only the *tabloid-fueled Lillehammer Games, according to data available today from The Nielsen Company.

“The Olympics have yet again proved the power of the big events on network television,” said Dick Ebersol, Chairman, NBC Universal Sports & Olympics. “After an incredible journey for 17 days and nights, it brings us great joy to achieve this milestone, especially considering all the choices viewers have today. But our favorite measure is not how many
viewers watched but how many lives were impacted. There is still no greater joy than thinking about the families who were captivated night-after-night by the record-breaking performance of Team USA and the remarkable stories of the athletes of the world.”

1. Lillehammer, 1994,           204 million
2. Vancouver, 2010,             190 million
3. Salt Lake City, 2002, 187 million
T4. Torino, 2006, 184 million
T4. Albertville, 1992, 184 million
T4. Nagano, 1998, 184 million

*Fueled by the tabloid coverage of the Nancy Kerrigan/Tonya Harding scandal.

VANCOUVER OLYMPICS DOMINANT AGAINST COMPETITION: Through the 17 nights of the Vancouver Olympics, NBC drew more viewers than the other three major networks combined (9 percent advantage).  The Vancouver Olympics averaged 24.4 million viewers in primetime, more than doubling Fox, tripling CBS and quadrupling ABC over that span. 

“It’s important to note how truly dominant our performance is because of the many choices available in the world today,” said Ebersol. “At the time of the Lillehammer Games, the average home had less than 40 channels, but today the average home has 130, more than three times 1994, plus the Internet then was still in its infancy. What makes our performance here even more impressive in this age of so many choices on so many media platforms is the fact that we are averaging more than 2 million more viewers each night than the other three networks combined.”

The Vancouver Olympics on NBC stands as the most dominating non-U.S. Winter Olympics among viewers on record (dating back to Nielsen’s advent of people meters in 1987).  At the tabloid-fueled Lillehammer Games, the Olympics held an eight percent edge over the combined competition on Fox, CBS and ABC.

OLYMPICS ON NBC 24.4 million
Fox/CBS/ABC combined: 22.3 million (9 percent advantage)
Fox 9.2 million (165 percent advantage)
CBS 7.5 million (225 percent advantage)
ABC 5.6 million (336 percent advantage)

* The 190 million viewers of the Vancouver Olympics across 17 days
is 34 million greater than the total audience of 156 million for the
combined 17 total broadcasts of the following events:
o 2009 NBA Finals (68.7 million on five broadcasts on ABC)
o 2009 World Series (98.4 million on six broadcasts on Fox),
o 2010 Bowl Championship Series (93.1 million on five broadcasts on ABC and Fox)
o 2009 NCAA Tournament Championship Game (36.7 million on one broadcast on CBS).

* The 190 million unduplicated viewers of the Vancouver Games is:
o 54 million higher than the full 2009 NBA regular season (136 million, 221 national telecasts)
o 41 million higher than the full 2009 MLB Season (149 million, 162 national telecasts)
o 33 million higher than the full 2009 College Football regular season (157 million, 202 national telecasts)

* NBC’s Vancouver Olympics primetime average audience of 24.4 million is larger than every year of the Bowl Championship Series since its inception in 1998 and higher than the NBA Finals each year for the last 11 years.

* NBC’s Vancouver Olympics primetime average audience of 24.4 was higher than nearly every major sports championship during the 2009-2010 seasons. 

o 10 million more viewers than the NBA Finals (14.3 million, six games)
o Nearly seven million more than the NCAA Basketball Championship (17.6 million)
o More than five million more than the BCS Games (19.2 million, five games)
o Five million more than the World Series (19.4 million, six games).

FULL 17-DAY AVERAGE IS 4.2 MILLION MORE THAN 2006: The 24.4 million
average viewers through for the Vancouver Games is 4.2 million more and 21 percent higher than the average viewership of the 2006 Winter Games (20.2 million).  The 13.8/23 average household rating for the Games is 13 percent higher than 2006 (12.2/19). 

MOST WATCHED HOCKEY GAME IN 30 YEARS: Sunday afternoon’s USA vs. Canada gold medal hockey game, that NBC’s Bob Costas called, “One of the greatest sports events I have ever seen,” was the most-watched hockey game in 30 years.  Canada’s epic 3-2 overtime victory (3:20-6:13 p.m. ET) drew an average viewership of 27.6 million, the most watched hockey broadcast of any kind since the gold medal-clinching USA vs. Finland 1980 game in Lake Placid on Feb. 24, 1980 (32.8 million).  For historical comparison, the “Miracle on Ice” USA-Russia game that aired on tape delay on Feb 22, 1980 from the Lake Placid Games drew 34.2 million average viewers.

* Nielsen reported the total viewership for yesterday’s USA-Canada gold medal game was 52.9 million viewers; nearly 15 million more than the 2002 gold medal game.  It also passes the “Miracle on Ice” game (51.9 million) and now ranks second all-time in total audience behind the USA-Finland game from 1980 in Lake Placid (55.6 million).

* The 27.6 million viewers for Sunday’s gold medal game was 10.5 million more (up 61 percent) from the Canada-USA gold medal game from the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics (17.1 million viewers).

* The 15.2/30 rating for yesterday’s game was four-and-a-half rating points higher than the 10.7/24 for the 2002 gold medal game and was the highest-rated hockey game of any kind since the USA vs. Finland 1980 gold medal game (23.2/31).  The “Miracle on Ice” semifinal game between the USA and Russia had a household rating of a 23.9/37.

* The audience peaked at 34.8 million viewers (18.6/34 hh rating) from 5:30-6 p.m. ET, when the USA’s Zach Parise (New Jersey Devils) sent the game to overtime with the tying goal with just 24.4 seconds left in regulation.  Canada’s Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh Penguins) gave Canada the gold medal, their 14th of the Winter Games (most of any country) when he got the puck past the USA’s Ryan Miller (Buffalo Sabres) just over seven minutes into overtime.

SUNDAY’S CLOSING CEREMONY UP 45 PERCENT FROM CLOSING CEREMONY NIGHT 2006; DOMINATES PRIMETIME: Sunday night’s Closing Ceremony generated 21.4 million viewers on a night that drew a full slate of original
competition, including The Amazing Race, Undercover Boss and Cold Case on CBS and Desperate Housewives and Brothers and Sisters on ABC.  The 21.4 million viewers is 6.6 million more than the comparable night at the 2006 Winter Games (14.8 million, up 45 percent). The national household rating of 12.1/19 for the Closing Ceremony is more than three full ratings points and 36 percent higher than the comparable night at the 2006 Winter Games (8.9/13). 

* Head-to-head (9-10 p.m.) the Olympics drew 20.8 million viewers nearly doubling the viewership of an original episode of Desperate Housewives on ABC (10.8 million, an advantage of 93 percent) and drew more than five million more than CBS’s hit new show Undercover Boss (15.1 million, an advantage of 38 percent).

NBC OLYMPICS MOBILE: 87 MILLION PAGE VIEWS: NBC Olympics Mobile platforms (Mobile Web Site and iTunes App), through the full 17 days of the Games have amassed 87.1 million page views, 52 million more than the total number of page views for the entire 17-day Beijing Games (34.7 million).

* There have been two million mobile video streams in the17 days, more than six times the total number for the entire 17-day Beijing Games (301k).

* The NBC Olympics Mobile App was the No. 1 free sports app at the iTunes store throughout the first weekend of the Games and again on the final day of the Vancouver Olympics

* By the time the Opening Ceremony broadcast started at 7:30 p.m. on Feb 12, NBC Olympics Mobile already generated more page views than the entire 2006 Winter Games (1.0 million).

NBCOLYMPICS.COM MORE THAN TRIPLED THE USERS OF THE ENTIRE 2006 WINTER GAMES: Through the full 17 days of the Vancouver Games delivered 46 million total unique users, nearly 33 million more unique users and 243 percent higher than the entire 17 days of the 2006 Winter Games (13.3 million).

*’s 710 million page views is more than double the  total for the 2006 Winter Games (331 million).

* Throughout the 17 days, has seen 45 million video streams serving more than 3.5 million hours of video, nearly 37 million more than the total number of video streams from the 2006 Winter Games (8.4 million).

* Visitors to spend, on average, 13.3 minutes on the site.  More than any other Olympics-focused website.

NOTE: All data for and NBC Olympics Mobile is provided by Omniture.

Mountain Time Zone 18.8/31
Central Time Zone 15.4/24
Pacific Time Zone 15.2/27
Eastern Time Zone 14.8/23

1. SALT LAKE CITY, 21.9/36
2. DENVER, 21.3/35
3. MILWAUKEE, 21.0/33
4. SEATTLE, 19.6/36
5. MINNEAPOLIS, 19.1/32
6. ST. LOUIS, 18.4/29
7. COLUMBUS, 17.9/28
T8. SAN DIEGO, 17.8/30
T8. WEST PALM BEACH, 17.8/26
10. PORTLAND, 17.7/32
11. KANSAS CITY, 17.6/26
12. OKLAHOMA CITY, 17.1/25
13. FT.MYERS, 17.0/27
14. NASHVILLE, 16.9/25
15. AUSTIN, 16.8/27
16. TULSA, 16.7/24
17. CLEVELAND, 16.6/26
T18. BOSTON, 16.4/29
T18. PROVIDENCE, 16.4/27
T20. PHOENIX, 16.3/27
T20. CINCINNATI, 16.3/25
22. SAN FRANCISCO, 15.9/30
T23. CHICAGO, 15.8/25
T23. DETROIT, 15.8/25
T25. SACRAMENTO, 15.7/28
T25. INDIANAPOLIS, 15.7/25
T25. RICHMOND, 15.7/24

1. SALT LAKE CITY, 20.1/32
2. MILWAUKEE, 20.0/28
3. DENVER, 19.1/29
4. WEST PALM BEACH, 18.0/25
5. AUSTIN, 17.7/26
6. SEATTLE, 17.3/28
7. MINNEAPOLIS, 17.1/26
8. FT.MYERS, 17.0/25
9. PITTSBURGH, 16.9/23
10. KANSAS CITY, 16.7/23
11. BOSTON, 16.5/26
12. SAN FRANCISCO, 16.4/28
13. HARTFORD, 16.3/23
14. CLEVELAND, 15.9/22
15. PROVIDENCE, 15.8/24
16. ST. LOUIS, 15.7/23
T17. CINCINNATI, 15.4/22
T17. COLUMBUS, 15.4/22
19. CHICAGO, 15.3/23
T20. DETROIT, 15.2/23
T20. RICHMOND, 15.2/20
22. BALTIMORE, 15.1/22
23. BUFFALO, 15.0/21
24. TAMPA, 14.9/21
T25. NEW YORK, 14.8/21
T25. SAN DIEGO, 14.8/22

NBC Universal, broadcast its record 12th Olympics the most Olympics broadcast by any network, presented more than 835 hours of VancouverOlympic Winter Games coverage – representing the most total hours ever for a Winter Olympics, more than the last two Winter Olympics combined, and the most live hours ever for a Winter Games. The Vancouver Games were the first Winter Olympics to be presented entirely in high

(source: Information provided by NBC)