Olympics TV viewership – additional information
The Olympic Games is one of the largest events in the sporting calendar, attracting millions of TV viewers when it takes place every four years. The 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil drew in an average of 27.5 million primetime viewers in the United States, which marks a decrease of 2.8 million viewers from the 2012 Olympics in London. The Games in 2016 also saw a fall in the number of those who watched the Opening Ceremony. The 26.49 million television viewers who watched the opening ceremony in Rio is a fall from the record 40.7 million viewers who watched the opening of the London Olympic Games in 2012.
During the Olympic Games in 2016, the peak TV viewership figures came on August 9, with 33.63 million tuning in to NBC to watch the day’s action, the equivalent of a 33 percent share. This coincided with a successful day for the U.S. team, with two gold medals being won in the pool and the U.S. women’s gymnastics team taking gold in the Women’s Team Final. August 11 was the only other day during the Rio Olympics that TV viewership topped 30 million, as 31.22 million spectators watched Simone Biles win gold in Women’s Individual All-Around Gymnastics Final, with teammate Aly Raisman taking silver. This day also brought further success for the U.S. team in the pool as the women’s 4 x 200m freestyle relay team took gold ahead of Australia.
The decrease in Olympic TV viewership in 2016 compared to previous years illustrates the increasing use of other digital platforms, with 63 percent of Olympic fans stating that they use their PC/laptop to watch sports coverage in the second quarter of 2016. This means that, by the Closing Ceremony of the Rio Olympics in 2016, over 2.7 billion minutes of Rio 2016 coverage had been live streamed from NBC Olympics digital platforms.