NBC Jumps out of the gate with big Sochi ratings

NBC’s Olympics coverage is off to a fast start with viewers. More than 100 million Americans have watched the Sochi Winter Games on its NBCU networks. Through Saturday, 106.5 million Americans — more than a third of the U.S. population — have watched the Games on NBC, NBCSN, and MSNBC. On Thursday, NBC aired its first-ever Winter Olympics telecast prior to the Friday-night Opening Ceremony. Saturday was the first full day of coverage, which included live competition on NBCSN and MSNBC.

For the Opening Ceremony on Friday and Day 1 coverage on Saturday, a total of 97.3 Americans tuned in, up from 96.7 million for the opening Friday and Saturday of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics and 88.4 million for the 2006 Torino Games.

The Sunday primetime Olympics telecast on NBC (7:30-11 p.m. ET) posted a 14.4 household rating/22 share, up from NBC’s live (ET/CT) coverage of the opening Sunday of the 2010 Vancouver Games (14.3 rating/23 share). Sunday night’s telecast averaged 26.3 million viewers, essentially even with the 26.4 million in 2010.

In addition, the Sochi Sunday primetime telecast was up 13% in viewership and 8% in household rating from the opening Sunday of the latest European Winter Olympics (23.2 million viewers and 13.3 rating/20 share for Torino in 2006).

NBCSN on Sunday continued breaking network records for its first-ever Winter Olympics coverage, posting an average of 2.9 million viewers (6 a.m.-2:23 p.m.) — more than doubling the same time window on the opening Sunday of the 2012 London Summer Olympics (1.2 million). NBCSN posted its best daytime viewership for the second consecutive day following Saturday’s 2.6 million average.

Also, for the second consecutive day, NBCSN set a record for the network’s most-watched event with its 1-2:23 p.m. coverage of men’s ski jumping, which averaged 5.5 million viewers. Saturday’s coverage of team figure skating was the prior record holder with 4.9 million viewers.

NBC’s 11:30 p.m. Olympics Late Night show, hosted by Bob Costas, averaged 8.0 million viewers on Sunday — the most-watched Winter Olympics opening-Sunday late-night show since the 1988 Calgary Games and up 77% from Torino and 3% from Vancouver.

NBC’s Sunday daytime show (2-6 p.m.) posted 15.4 million viewers, up 23% from Torino and up 14% from Vancouver.

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