2012 Olympics: 36M Watchers Are Most Ever for First Sunday Night for Non-U.S. Summer Games


NBC continues to step to the top of the medal stand with the Nielsens, registering the best first Sunday night for a non-U.S. Summer Games and the top initial three-night audience in Summer Olympics history.
The network's July 29 telecast, showcasing the disappointing silver medal for the U.S. in the 4x100 meter freestyle relay, a gold medal by Dana Vollmer in the women's 100 meter butterfly and the preliminaries of the women's gymnastics all-around, notched a 19.3 national rating and 33 share from 7 p.m. to 11:14 p.m. (ET/PT), according to Nielsen data. As mentioned, that was the best for the first Sunday of a Summer Games outside the States since the Games were first televised in 1960.
The rating was 9% higher than the first Sunday night of the Beijing Olympics (18.1/31), which featured live coverage of Michael Phelps's second of his eight gold medals. Sunday night's national rating was also 29% above the first Sunday night in Athens in 2004 (15.4/26), the last European Summer Olympics.
NBC averaged 36 million watchers, the most for the first Sunday of a non-U.S. Summer Games in history. Last night's viewership was 11% above the first Sunday night of the 2008 Beijing Olympics (32.3 million), and almost 40% more than the first night of the 2004 Athens Olympics (25.8 million).
The average viewership for Opening Ceremony (40.7 million) and last night (36.0 million) was higher than any night from the Beijing, Athens or Sydney Games.
Through the first three nights of the London Olympics, NBC is averaging 35.8 million viewers, the best through the first weekend for any Summer Olympics in history, 1.4 million more than the 1996 Atlanta Olympics (34.4 million), and 5 million more viewers than 2008 Beijing Olympics (30.6 million).