NBC’s Olympics Ratings Healthy While Its Host Is On the Mend

Bob Costas Matt Lauer

In sports parlance, Bob Costas remains day-to-day for NBC.

The longtime NBC Olympics host continues to be sidelined due to an eye infection that has left him “very frustrated,” according to of Mark Lazarus, chairman of NBC Sports Group. Lazarus spoke with reporters in a conference call on Wednesday, primarily to tout the impressive ratings performance of these Games, but the subject of Costas was addressed early on.

“I am not surprised it has got this much attention,” said Lazarus. “Bob is America’s Olympic host. They’ve come to expect him being here. When he’s not, it’s a story. We’re taking it day-by-day, and we hope that Bob will be back in the chair soon.”

Costas was to be replaced as Olympics host for a second straight night Wednesday by Matt Lauer of “Today.” Lazarus said Costas was being treated by Russian doctors but offered few other details.

Overall, NBC’s average primetime viewership through Tuesday (25.9 million) is nearly equal that of Vancouver from four years ago (26.4 million) — an impressive feat given that much more of the action from Canada was live — and well ahead of Torino in 2006 (21.6 million).  The time difference from Sochi to New York is nine hours, but that hasn’t been a big factor.

“For most viewers, it just doesn’t matter,” said NBCUniversal’s president of research Alan Wurtzel, who was also on the conference call. “The headline of this Olympics is that our multi-platform and network strategy has clearly resonated.

“We learned in London that the more devices they (viewers) used to consume the Olympics, the more time they watched the Olympics and primetime viewing only went up. This cross-platform viewing is really what the future is going to be. We’re not myopic… we have to be broader than that.”

The decision to put 12 hours of live coverage on NBC Sports Network has resulted in record ratings for the cabler. It averaged a best-ever 1.1 million viewers for the 6 a.m.- 3 p.m. ET time period on Tuesday. NBCSN set weekend daytime records for its live Sochi Olympic telecasts on Saturday and Sunday.

NBC Olympics’ three digital platforms (NBCOlympics.com; NBC Sports Live Extra app; an the new NBC Olympics Highlights and Results app) have drawn nearly 30 million viewers through Tuesday — up 54% from the 2010 Vancouver Games. Nearly 600,000 viewers live-streamed Shaun White’s performance on Monday, making it the second most popular event on the live stream, behind only the women’s soccer final from London in 2012.

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  1. Julienne says:

    Having been to Black Sea to make movies, it’s obvious the KGB, now called the Russian Mafia and Communism is alive and well. Several of us crew members went to a Restaurant one night, to find 15-17 year old servers/waitresses serving drinks and food topless in a G-String.

    NBC doesn’t seem to give-a-flying-f@&k. Most of their Exec’s are probably living it up.

    Where’s all the women’s groups when young women need them….nowhere to be found, because those same women’s groups know they can only get money for bitching and moaning in the U.S.

    • Basil says:

      Your the one idiot that still thinks Carter’s boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics was a good idea. Yes lets punish athletes (some of them still teenagers) who have been training their whole life and rip away their dream and ability to make a lively hood, because self righteous zealots such as your self don’t like Russia’s government.

      Let me see the Russian people can once again practice Christianity and the Russian Orthodox Church is no longer being prosecuted. Yet you want to say the Communist government is back in Russia when they supported State Atheism. Russian people are know free to celebrate Christmas, Easter and other Christian holidays outlawed under the USSR Communist government.

      Get a clue go to West Virginia to see how the coal industry has taken over whatever democracy the residents of that state had as it’s nothing more then a COAL MAFIA STATE. Go ahead drink the water in West Virginia if you think corruption and environmental destruction is only a Russian problem.

      Women groups in America that you so readily disparage can bitch and moan in the US all they want as there is something called the 1st Amendment. You seem to think the 1st Amendment is only for people you agree with.

      Julienne you represent a mentality that is everything wrong with people of your ideology. Your moral and political zealotry did enough damage under the last administration so does a favor and fall on your own sword before dragging us into another crusade, . Instead of hectoring the rest of the world the USA needs to fix and solve its own problems.

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