NBC closed out its Olympics coverage in strong fashion Sunday as the final night of the Games continued the network’s dominance of the past two weeks.
From 8-11 p.m., the Olympics drew a 20 rating/7.8 share in the 18-49 demo, according to Nielsen, with some 26.3 million viewers tuning in. In metered markets, the telecast was up 27% from the closing night of the 2004 Athens Games and 38% from Sydney in 2000.
The Closing Ceremony was the top rated of any Summer Olympics since Montreal in 1976.
The Peacock saw its $894 million investment pay off, with the network handily winning all 17 nights and taking home an estimated $1 billion in advertising revenue plus additional coin racked up during the Games.
These Beijing Olympics turned out to be the most-watched event in U.S. television history, with some 214 million — about 11% more than the second-place Atlanta Olympics of 1996 — tuning in to watch a least a portion of the Games. NBC Universal, via its broadcast, cable and online divisions, offered 3,600 hours of coverage.
“This audience record is something I thought I’d never see again,” said Dick Ebersol, chairman of NBC Universal Sports and Olympics.
Coverage averaged 27.7 million viewers per night and scored a 17-day rating of 16.2/28, a substantial increase over Athens.
NBC has rights to the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver.