Olympic fatigue set in on Saturday night as NBC’s broadcast of the Rio Olympic games hit its lowest ebb with the final night of competition coverage.
NBCUniversal said the 15 days of competition overall averaged 27.5 million viewers, according to its total audience delivery (TAD) tracking system that incorporates broadcast, cable and digital ratings. Per that measure, the Rio games rank No. 2 in viewership (for a non-U.S.-hosted Olympics) behind London 2012, which averaged 30.3 million viewers.
The peak of the 15-day frame came on Aug. 9, when NBC served up a blockbuster combination of swimmers Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky capturing gold medals and gymnast sensation Simone Biles helping to lead the U.S. women’s team to victory. That night averaged 36.1 million viewers in the TAD measure, most of which came from NBC (33.4 million).
Behind London and Rio, Beijing 2008 (27.2 million), Barcelona 1992 (26.4 million) and Seoul 1988 (25.8 million) round out the top five most-watched games.
NBCUniversal has emphasized that the Rio games mark a new era for Olympics coverage with simultaneous streaming coverage of every event available and more live coverage on NBCU cablers than ever before. But the drop in the four years since London by the all-encompassing TAD ratings yardstick still has to be concerning to NBCU, which forked out another $7.75 billion in 2014 for rights to six more Olympic games through 2032.
On Saturday, Olympics coverage of diving and track and field events from 9-11 p.m. brought in a 10.6 household rating/20 share in Nielsen’s 56 overnight metered markets, which cover about 70% of U.S. TV households.
The NBC Sports Network cabler, however, had a big turnout for the men’s soccer final, with Brazil’s victory over Germany delivering a 1.8 overnight household rating. Viewership peaked at 2.73 rating for the final minutes of the game from 7-7:15 p.m. ET.
NBC’s top local markets on Saturday: Columbus, Ohio (13.7/25); Salt Lake City (13.0/28); Ft. Myers, Fla. (12.5/22); West Palm Beach, Fla. (12.1/21); and Austin, Texas (11.6/22).