UPDATED: Katie Ledecky’s record-setting win in the 800-meter freestyle, Michael Phelps’ second-to-last outing in Rio and women’s soccer drove NBC’s Olympics viewership on Friday.
The coverage of U.S. swimming stars delivered a 7.6 rating in adults 18-49 in primetime, according to Nielsen’s overnight metered market ratings. That was on par with the previous night but down from Thursday when the heat around U.S. gymnast Simone Biles’ boosted the key demo to an 8.9 rating in primetime.
Overall, Friday’s Olympics coverage on NBC averaged a 15.9 rating and 28 share in Nielsen’s 56 overnight metered markets, which cover about 70% of U.S. TV households. That was up slightly from the 15.6 household rating average of the games so far. NBC stressed that the Rio de Janeiro games rank as the second most-watched games behind London in 2012.
According to NBC’s “total audience delivery” (TAD) measure encompassing linear and streaming viewing, Friday’s games had an audience of 26 million in primetime — 24 million of which came from NBC’s coverage. That was still down from the TAD estimate of 28.5 million for the comparable night in 2012.
Ledecky set a new record time for the 800-meter race, besting her own mark that she set four years ago at the London games. Phelps, meanwhile, finished out with the silver medal in the men’s 100-meter butterfly race. His final competition in Rio, the men’s 100-meter race, airs tonight. It should draw a crowd as it might be the final Olympic competition ever for Phelps, who set a new Olympic record in Rio by logging his 13th individual gold medal victory.
The NBCSN cable network had its best day ever on Friday with an average of 1.38 million viewers tuning in from 8 a.m. to midnight ET for coverage of U.S. women’s soccer, women’s basketball and men’s basketball.
NBC Sports’ streaming coverage of U.S. women’s soccer in the quarterfinals posted 714,000 uniques and 25.6 million live streaming minutes, making it the fourth-highest streaming event of the Olympics to date, per NBC. NBC said its NBCOlympics.com and NBC Sports app have served up 1.5 billion streaming minutes of the games so far.
(Pictured: Katie Ledecky, center, celebrates her gold medal win in the women’s 800-meter freestyle)