One Olympic sport has been outdrawing any other sport NBC has covered on its cable channels during the London Games — even basketball, reports our friend Bill Carter at The New York Times’ Media Decoder. The sport is archery, and its popularity with viewers has been a surprise to NBC executives.
"The numbers for archery have been nothing less than huge," Alan Wurtzel, NBC’s top research executive, told Carter, adding, "Maybe it’s the ‘Hunger Games’ phenomenon.”
The story continues, "It’s as good a guess as any, one seemingly supported by how well NBC’s archery coverage has been doing with younger female viewers, presumably the fans of the young-adult novels (and movie), whose main character, Katniss Everdeen, is an expert archer."
TVWeek would add that another strong female character in another hit movie now in theaters is also into archery: Princess Merida in Pixar’s "Brave."
"The Hunger Games" is the No. 2 movie at the U.S. box office this year, with a little over $400 million gross. "Brave" is No. 5, with about a $220 million gross.
“Wurtzel called archery ‘the new curling,’ citing the oddball winter sport that developed a following in the Vancouver games two years ago,” The Times story adds.
Archery has averaged 1.5 million viewers in the daytime, the story says, "higher than any other sport NBC has covered on its cable channels, including basketball. (To be fair, if only the games of the United States teams are measured, basketball would beat the bow-and-arrow experts.)"