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PyeongChang Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony Draws 28.3 Million Viewers

UPDATED: NBC Sports estimates that 28.3 million viewers watched Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony on Friday with the streaming audience factored in.

NBC said the live stream of the ceremony at 6 a.m. ET and views initiated via NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app simultaneous to the taped-delay primetime telecast added up to an average minute audience of 449,000. The linear NBC telecast from 8 p.m.-11:02 p.m. ET averaged 27.8 million viewers.

NBC noted the total streaming audience for the opening ceremony more than doubled the turnout of 181,000 for the opening ceremony of the 2016 Summer Games in Rio, Brazil. NBC is reporting the live streaming numbers as average-minute audience in an effort to make them as compatible with linear ratings as possible.

Among the Olympic kickoff ceremonies that have aired on tape-delay since 1992, PyeongChang ranks No. 3 behind CBS’ Lillehammer coverage in 1994 (33.8 million) and 2014 in Sochi (31.7 million).

“The Opening Ceremony was a terrific show, which we hope will only be topped by the excitement generated by the athletes and competition over the next few weeks,” said Mark Lazarus, chairman of NBC Broadcasting and Sports. “The early consumption results show that our multiple platform strategy is dominating the media landscape.”

PREVIOUSLY: NBC’s linear coverage of the Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea delivered a solid crowd on Friday night.

According to Nielsen’s overnight numbers, the primetime telecast of the Parade of Nations ceremony grabbed a 16.9 household rating and 29 share. That’s off 8.6% from the 2014 opening ceremony from Sochi, Russia, which averaged an 18.5/30 in the overnights in February 2014.

The preliminary overnight ratings do not include viewership from live streaming, which is sure to boost the overall audience. NBCUniversal has once again invested huge resources in making the Olympics available to viewers via live streaming in a nod to the fact that many viewers now prefer on-demand platforms. Streaming numbers for the Opening Ceremony were not immediately available.

NBC noted that the PyeongChang ceremony’s linear ratings narrowly topped viewership of the opening of the summer games in Rio, Brazil in 2014 (16.5/30). On Friday, as usual with Olympics coverage, NBC easily beat the combined ratings of its Big Four competition. And the overnight number marked the highest ratings in primetime for any network on a Friday since the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Viewership peaked from 9 p.m.-9:15 p.m. ET when Team USA entered the stadium.

The top local markets for Friday’s primetime coverage:

  • Salt Lake City (29.6/55)
  • Denver (27.4/51)
  • San Diego (25.1/49)
  • Seattle (24.0/46)
  • Sacramento (23.4/45)
  • Portland (23.0/44)
  • San Francisco (21.1/46)
  • Los Angeles (20.9/41)
  • West Palm Beach (20.0/31)
  • Buffalo (19.8/31)

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