So many reasons for the fail.
I noted that the Beijing Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony was a snow-filled ratings bust.
How bad were the remaining two weeks? So bad that even an army of Chinese propaganda Twitter bots couldn’t salvage the event.
The final numbers are in, and the 2022 Winter Olympics were a wipeout for NBC.
The final scores are in, and NBC is no doubt happy to put the Beijing Winter Olympics in the rear-view mirror.
The games reached an average combined audience of 11.4 million people in prime time on NBC, the USA cable network and Peacock streaming service, the network said. That’s the lowest-ever American audience for any Olympics, and down 42% from the Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, in 2018.
For NBC alone, the prime time telecasts reached an average of 9.3 million viewers, or 48% down from South Korea, the Nielsen company said.
The games never really captured the public imagination, and were hurt by COVID-19 restrictions that had most of NBC’s announcers working half a world away in Connecticut.
Of course, it can’t help that a popular hashtag for the Olympics was #GenocideGames. And many people are still not over the fact that a leading theory for the origin of the coronavirus is a lab leak at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
The Chinese Communist Party response to the initial outbreak was shameful, and no amount of fireworks or artificial snow is going to make people forget.
But the media is digging deep to find other reasons for the fail.
Several factors contributed to the audience’s waning interest, he said. They included the lack of crowds because of the pandemic and “very harsh protocols in China” that kept family and friends out of the stands and limited the size of the network’s coverage teams in Beijing.
“We had 1,600 people in Stamford and 600 people in Beijing,” Bevacqua said, referring to the size of the network’s crew in Connecticut. “Normally that would be flipped for us.”
This year’s lackluster numbers are also likely due to the significant time difference between the U.S. and China, controversies regarding the host country’s human rights record, as well as a general lower level of interest in the sports that make up the Winter Games.
You know it is bad when the Associated Press deems it a disaster.
“These Olympics were a disaster for the network: a buzz-free, hermetically-sealed event in an authoritarian country a half-day’s time zone away, where the enduring images will be the emotional meltdown of Russian teen-agers after a drug-tainted figure skating competition and a bereft Mikaela Shiffrin, sitting on a ski slope wondering what went wrong,” The Associated Press wrote.
“Viewers stayed away in alarming numbers, and NBC has to wonder whether it was extraordinarily bad luck or if the brand of a once-unifying event for tens of millions of people is permanently tainted.”
NBC locked in the full media rights for the Olympic games in 2028 and 2032 at prices set in 2014 for a price of $7.75 billion. For those of us who boycotted the Olympics because of China, this year’s results are priceless.
The 2026 Winter Olympics are set for Milan-Cortina in Italy. This seems karmic, as this was one of the first regions devastated by the covid pandemic. Perhaps NBC will see ratings improvements during those games.DONATE
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