NBC’s 2018 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony Coverage Is Down From 2014

Still the most-watched Friday night television program in nearly four years.

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Hosted by NBC Sports’s Mike Tirico and former NBC News anchor Katie Couric, alongside NBC Sports’ Asia analyst Joshua Cooper Ramo, NBC’s edited, prime-time presentation of the 2018 Pyeyongchang Olympics Opening Ceremony saw a drop in viewership compared to the 2014 Sochi Olympics opener.

NBC’s 2018 opening ceremony broadcast posted a Total Audience Delivery of 28.3 million viewers, per Nielsen live plus same day data and digital data from Adobe analytics.

That’s an 11 percent decline from the 2014 Sochi opening ceremony, which posted 31.7 million viewers

Out of the 28.3 million viewer delivery, 27.8 million watched the opening ceremony on the NBC broadcast network, which means that NBC’s TAD metric, which includes viewing on NBCSN, and NBC Sports Digital platforms, provided a +2 percent total viewer lift.

NBC says that Nielsen “out of home” data, also part of the TAD metric, will be available early next week.

NBC Opening ceremony viewership peaked from 9 p.m.-9:15 p.m. ET, when 31.5 million total viewers watched as American luger Erin Hamlin led Team USA into the stadium during the Parade of Nations.

The network also noted that the linear viewership of last night’s opener was +4 percent from the linear viewership of the 2016 Rio Summer Games Opening Ceremony, which was the least-watched since 1992 Barcelona. (26.7 million)

Despite the decline from 2014, the powers-that-be at NBC were pleased with the broadcast.

“The Opening Ceremony was a terrific show, which we hope will only be topped by the excitement generated by the athletes and competition over the next few weeks,” Mark Lazarus, chairman of NBC broadcasting & sports, said in a statement. “American audiences continue to be interested and excited for the Games, and the early consumption results show that our multiple platform strategy is dominating the media landscape.”

And as is the norm during the Olympics, NBC dominated the broadcast network competition, and its total prime time viewer average last night is the largest for any network on a Friday since 2014 Sochi.

Below are top local markets for Friday’s prime time coverage. Salt Lake City was No. 1, yet again:

  • Salt Lake City (29.6/55)
  • Denver (27.4/51)
  • San Diego (25.1/49)
  • Seattle (24.0/46)
  • Sacramento (23.4/45)
  • Portland (23.0/44)
  • San Francisco (21.1/46)
  • Los Angeles (20.9/41)
  • West Palm Beach (20.0/31)
  • Buffalo (19.8/31)

@ajkatztv aj.katz@adweek.com A.J. Katz is the senior editor of Adweek's TVNewser.