NBC's Rio Olympics Sunday night viewership tops opening ceremony by 12 percent


NBC Olympics’ exclusive coverage of the 2016 Rio Olympics continues to be widely consumed on multiple platforms unlike any event in television history.

As such, NBC Olympics will begin Total Audience Delivery reports later this week measuring broader consumption. The TAD will measure broadcast, cable, and digital/other consumption.

Last night’s NBC-only Rio Olympics coverage (7-11:48 p.m. ET/PT) averaged 29.8 million viewers -- up 12% from Friday’s Opening Ceremony (26.5 million) to rank as the largest Sunday-Friday opening weekend viewership increase for a Summer Games since the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, according to fast national data from The Nielsen Company.

Including NBCSN and Bravo, which also presented live primetime competition, NBC Olympics’ television coverage averaged 34.0 million viewers from 8-11 p.m. on Sunday. This is the first Olympics in U.S. media history in which there is primetime Olympic coverage on channels other than the primary broadcast network. It is also the first time that the broadcast network coverage, including primetime, has been streamed simultaneously on digital platforms.

For the first three nights of Rio 2016, NBC’s 7.8 primetime rating among Adults 18-49 tops by 500% the other broadcast networks combined (1.3 on ABC, CBS and FOX) – the largest three-day advantage for any Olympics after three days.

Sunday’s Olympic coverage on the networks of NBCUniversal was watched by 93.2 million viewers (31.4% of the U.S. population) in 51.2 million homes (44.3% of U.S. TV households).
Additional NBC Olympics metrics:


  • U.S. Women’s Basketball win over Senegal on NBCSN yesterday (11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. ET) averaged 1.7 million viewers – topping viewership of all U.S. women’s basketball games on the network at the 2012 London Olympics.
  • Bravo’s full-day Olympic tennis coverage (9:30 a.m.-10:07 p.m. ET) averaged 624,000 viewers – up 42% from the comparable day in 2012. Coverage peaked at 1.7 million viewers from 6:45-7 p.m. ET, as Serena and Venus Williams were upset in a first-round doubles match.


  • NBC Olympics’ 532 million live streaming minutes through Sunday is the best ever at this point in the Olympics, and up 186% from the same point in London 2012.
  • Sunday was the best day ever for NBC Olympics digital platforms, with 231 million live and replay streaming minutes (up 307% from the comparable day in 2012) and 12.2 million unique users (up 24%).


  • After three days, NBC’s average primetime viewership (26.7 million viewers) and household rating (14.3) have respective 287% and 211% advantages over the other broadcast networks combined – the second-largest Summer Games advantage on record (behind only the London Olympics).
  • Last night’s NBC telecast, which featured Michael Phelps and the Men’s 4x100 freestyle relay team and Katie Ledecky winning gold medals, and U.S. women’s gymnastics in team qualifying, posted a 16.1/30 household rating. The opening Sunday night of the 2012 London Olympics – which had no simultaneous live streaming and no competing primetime cable coverage – posted a 19.8/33 national rating with an average of 36.0 million viewers.


1. Salt Lake City - 25.8/47
2. Denver - 22.3/43
3. St. Louis - 21.6/35
4. Kansas City - 21.4/35
5. Phoenix - 21.0/36
T6. Austin - 20.9/37
T6. West Palm Beach - 20.9/33
8. Indianapolis - 20.7/33
T9. Sacramento - 20.6/39
T9. Richmond - 20.6/32

About NBC Olympics

A division of NBC Sports Group, NBC Olympics is responsible for producing, programming and promoting NBCUniversal's Olympic Games coverage. It is renowned for its unsurpassed Olympic heritage, award-winning production, and ability to aggregate the largest audiences in U.S. television history. The London 2012 Olympic Games were watched by 217 million Americans across the networks of NBCUniversal, making it the most-watched event in U.S. television history.