Viewership for the Olympics in Recent Years, by the Numbers — and the Most-Watched Event in U.S. Television History

Aug 22, 2016  •  Post A Comment

NBC is touting the Rio Games as the second-most-watched non-U.S. Olympics on record, in prime-time competition coverage. The claim is based on Total Audience Delivery, combining broadcast, cable and digital viewing.

“The 2016 Rio Olympics is the first in U.S. media history with live primetime Olympic coverage on channels other than the primary broadcast network,” NBC notes in a press release issued Sunday. “It is also the first time that the broadcast network coverage, including primetime, has been streamed simultaneously on digital platforms.”

NBC released the following rankings of by average primetime audiencefor the 15 nights of competition for non-U.S. Summer Games, with all of the events televised by NBC:

  • 2012 London Olympics: 30.3 million viewers
  • 2016 Rio Olympics: 27.5 million viewers
  • 2008 Beijing Olympics: 27.2 million viewers
  • 1992 Barcelona Olympics: 26.4 million viewers
  • 1988 Seoul Olympics: 25.8 million viewers
  • 2004 Athens Olympics: 24.9 million viewers
  • 2000 Sydney Olympics: 21.5 million viewers

The announcement adds: “The London 2012 Olympic Games were watched by 217 million Americans across the networks of NBCUniversal, making it the most-watched event in U.S. television history.”

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