NBC of course dominated the ratings race on Saturday, the first official night of competition, though its numbers came in below the 2010 Winter Games from Vancouver.
According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, NBC’s primetime coverage from Sochi averaged a 6.2 rating/20 share in adults 18-49 and 25 million viewers overall in primetime — down from the 7.5/22 in the demo and 26.2 million total viewers four years ago. Those Vancouver Games generally benefited from advantageous time-zone differences, meaning the primetime events each night were more fresh and sometimes even live.
NBC drew about 10 times the young-adult audience of any of its rivals on Saturday (a 0.6 rating in adults 18-49 for runner-up ABC) and nearly nine times the overall audience of CBS (2.9 million).
The top local markets in the overnights came from Minneapolis (22.4 household rating/41 share), Portland (20.7/34), Salt Lake City (20.6/39), Denver (20.3/37) and Milwaukee (19.8/34).
On Saturday, snowboarder Sage Kotsenburg picked up the first gold medal for the U.S.