Olympic Viewership Headed for Lowest Numbers Ever

18 February 2018, South Korea, Pyeongchang, Olympics, Alpine Skiing, Giant slalom, men, 1st heat, Yongpyong Alpine centre: Myong Gwang Choe of North Korea in action. Photo by: Michael Kappeler/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

Ratings for the Korean Olympics continue to collapse and it now seems certain that viewership for these Olympics will be the lowest in history.

Deadline Hollywood:

On the second Saturday of the South Korea-set competition, NBC and NBC Sports Network pulled in a 10.4/19 in metered market result for their joint primetime coverage. Down a hard 20% from the previous February 15 and February 16 lows of the 2018 Games, that’s the worst rating so far for PyeongChang coverage. It is also a drop of 32% from the melded NBC and NBCSN results of February 10, the first Saturday of these games.

On the flipside of sorts, last night’s primetime on NBC and NBCSN was up 0.9% from the equivalent NBC-only broadcast evening of the Sochi games back on February 15, 2014. Yet, when you compare just NBC’18 to NBC’14, last night was down 9% from the second Saturday of Sochi 2014, which was a low at the time for those games out of Russia.

Like last night that Saturday also faced Part 1 of the NBA All-Star weekend on TNT with the Slam Dunk contest. However, unlike last night’s rather lackluster affair out of L.A., the first night of the 2014 NBA All-Star Weekend had some pizzazz. Additionally, there was some actual sporting competition on the Big 4 on Saturday as Fox had a steady Premier Boxing Champions (0.3/1)  on last night too.

In the final numbers, the second Saturday of Sochi drew 17.1 million viewers. Which, to give some further perspective, was a 36% audience drop from the second Saturday of the XXI Winter Games in Vancouver in 2010.

Right now, with an average viewership of almost 23 million a night on NBC, NBCSN and via streaming, the 2018 Winter Games have declined about 8% from Sochi 2014 at this point in the Olympic competition. If you put NBC against just NBC, the numbers are more of a 16% downturn for this first week of events out of PyeongChang.

NBC paid close to a billion dollars to broadcast this turkey. It’s hard to figure out what they were thinking, but the International Olympic Committee is incredibly corrupt and potential ratings had little to do with the price they paid.

Some events are so boring, watching grass grow would give them a run for their money. The summer games are the glamour games, but even there, outside of some track events, most Americans can take them or leave them.

The big draws in the 2018 games are figure skating and skiing. Outside of those events, does anyone really care who wins the gold medal in curling? Or Nordic Combined? I love to watch ski jumping — and the wipeouts — but you’ve seen one ski jumper you’ve seen them all.

Seriously, one big reason for fewer viewers this Olympics is that pro hockey players decided to stay home this time. The hockey competition is just terrible. The women hockey games are a lot more interesting.

If the IOC wants to commit highway robbery and hold American TV networks up for Olympics coverage, they should be forced to wear masks and carry guns. What network in this age of rapidly declining TV viewership overall can justify to their stockholders losing hundreds of millions of dollars?