NBCU Tuesday said its coverage of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing has attracted more than 200 million total viewers through the first 11 days of the games—meaning that more than 83% of all U.S. households have tuned in for at least some of the events.
Further, according to NBCU officials, the network’s multichannel coverage of these Olympics has delivered the most dominant margins of victory for any network in any primetime week in the history of Nielsen’s People Meter sample, which first began tracking viewership in September 1987.
The 200 million total viewers so far virtually guarantees that NBCU’s coverage will be the most-watched Olympics in U.S. television history. For comparison, the first 11 days of coverage of the Athens games attracted 188 million total viewers while 196 million tuned in for the same number of days of the Atlanta Olympics in 1996.
The 11-day total for these Games makes it the fourth most-viewed television event in U.S. history. Additionally, 94 million of the of the nation's 112.8 million television homes (83 percent) have tuned into the Olympics.
For the record, the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta still maintains a precarious hold on the overall top spot with 209 million total viewers during the entire 17-day run.
Monday night’s telecast garnered 67 million total viewers in primetime and 26.4 million average viewers, a 2% gain from the comparable night in Athens (25.9 million). The night earned a 15.8 rating/26 share, which is off just 4% from Athens' comparable night (16.4/27) which featured the Team USA's Jeremy Wariner's gold medal in the 400 meters.