NBC got some good news in its Olympics ratings Tuesday night, and it can thank photogenic U.S. skier Lindsey Vonn.
“For the first time during the Olympics, NBC beat the ratings for the corresponding night in Sochi four years ago,” the AP reports. “An estimated 20.5 million people watched NBC, NBCSN or streaming services during prime time Tuesday, when the centerpiece of the coverage was Vonn’s bronze-medal run in the downhill skiing competition.”
The number compares with the 18.9 million people who watched NBC on the equivalent night four years ago, during the Sochi Games.
“For NBC alone on Tuesday, the viewership was 18.8 million,” the AP notes, quoting top NBC researcher Joe Brown calling the result “a gravity-defying media achievement.”
The AP also reports that NBC’s PyeongChang coverage is “on the brink of a historic accomplishment: These games will mark the first time female athletes have been featured more than men on a U.S. network’s prime-time Olympic coverage. That’s the prediction from three professors who have been tracking the gender breakdown of coverage for each Olympics since 1994.”
The report notes that coverage of male athletes had the edge through the first 10 nights of Pyeongchang telecasts, but the tide turned with the recent coverage of American skiers Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin, “and the trend is likely to continue with women’s figure skating a big feature of the second week.”
The AP report adds: “Women have won a majority of Team USA’s medals so far.”