The 2022 Beijing Olympics attracted the smallest ever TV audience for an Olympics. NBC reported that 11.4 million viewers watched its prime-time coverage of the Winter Games. The network reported previously that 19.8 million viewers watched the 2018 Winter Games.
Last year’s postponed 2020 Summer Games at Tokyo saw 15.1 million prime-time viewers, which is the lowest number since 1988, when the network began coverage of the Summer Games.
The 2022 Winter Gamers aired on Sunday, February 4, and Sunday, March 5. NBC reported that 160 million Americans watched the Beijing Olympics on its NBCUniversal platforms. Peacock streamed every Olympic event over the course of the 18-day competition.
Viewers who wanted live coverage of events had to be up at night or rise early because of the 13-hour difference in time between Beijing and the United States.
NBC claimed that the Olympics were the most streamed Winter Games, with 4.3 billion minutes of video consumed via digital and social media platforms. Throughout the Winter Games, USA Network was the most-watched sports and entertainment cable channel in primetime and total daily metrics.
According to Pete Bevacqua, chairman of NBC Sports, the reasons for the low viewership were COVID-19’s lack of attendance and the “harsh” Pandemic Protocols in China.
NBCUniversal extended the contract for American rights to broadcast the Olympics 2014 for $7.75 Billion. This contract is valid through 2032.