A record low number of viewers tuned in to watch the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games: Who knows why Americans aren’t watching.
NBC is facing a catastrophic audience loss for the 2022 Winter Olympics. After Friday’s Opening Ceremony, viewership fell to an average of barely 16 million people.
An all-time low for the Opening Ceremony (20.1 million in Calgary was the previous record) and a shocking 43 percent lower than the 2018 Games in South Korea, which attracted 28.3 million viewers despite having to contend with an Asian time zone that is not ideal for American audiences.
Just 7.7 million viewers tuned in to watch Thursday’s rating debacle, which was well behind the same-night numbers of 2018 (16 million) and Russia in 2014. (20.02 million).
According to NBC, the 16 million figure represents the “overall audience delivery” across the company’s networks and online. According to the network’s early figures, the day’s average television audience was less than 14 million.
Although the first week’s ratings tend to rise, NBC will have to work to recover from a rating deficit.
Problems arise because of China’s host country.
As a result of China’s alleged active campaign of genocide against the Uyghurs, a Muslim minority in China’s far northwest, many countries, including the United States, are staging a “diplomatic boycott” of these Games.
UN human rights monitors have also been barred from entering China in response to the accusations.
Athletes and NBC have a huge struggle because of China’s extreme anti-COVID policies, which have rendered life inside the “closed loop” a high-stress and near-joyless experience.
Anxiety over positive tests, inadequate conditions in “isolation camps,” and the necessity to protect themselves from China hacking into their phones and laptops have all been raised by athletes.
Just over two hours of politics and propaganda filled Friday’s Opening Ceremony from Beijing’s renowned Bird’s Nest. This included a speech from IOC president Thomas Bach that seemed like it was prepared by a member of the Chinese Communist Party.
A large LED screen on the floor created some spectacular graphics, but it was a long cry from the broad, inviting, joyous, over-the-top performance China delivered to begin the 2008 Summer Olympics…