Despite Worse Ratings Ever, NBC Blew $12 Billion On 2018 Winter Olympics

NBC shelled out nearly $12 billion to host TV coverage of the Olympics. Despite being left with a hefty bill, the 2018 Winter Olympics at Pyeongchang resulted in the worst ratings ever for the Olympics. This could possibly be one of the worst investments in television history.

Per CNN:

In 2012, viewership of the London Games was up even though many viewers had already seen the results on social media. An average of 31.1 million people tuned in to watch the Games when they aired during prime time on a tape delay.

But in the past two years, even sports have fallen victim to the same trends plaguing the broader industry. First the NFL’s ratings fell. Now we’ve seen that same drop hit consecutive Summer and Winter Games.

Viewership for the current Olympics on NBC is down 24% compared to Sochi among viewers aged 18-49, the age demographic most coveted by advertisers. (NBC notes that the demo is actually down only 15% when including viewers from both NBC and NBC Sports Network, which is airing prime time coverage of the Winter Games for the first time.)

It seems the left was in denial of the NFL’s plummeting ratings, until they need to use it for a story to fit their agenda .

Part of the issue is that people want to watch the events live. So they pass on the prime time coverage of the events and instead opt to stream the Olympic content online. There were 13.9 million unique viewers who were getting their fix with the NBC digital live stream.

Per Daily Wire:

It also didn’t help that the United States had an un-naturally poor performance in 2016 Games, and that, because of a time difference with Korea, most Olympic events took place while American viewers were asleep.

The only exception to NBC’s abysmal Olympic coverage came during Friday’s landmark U.S. victory in men’s curling: the network posted one of it’s best overnight ratings gets ever, as people tuned in to watch America win gold in the obscure sport between 1:30 and 3:00 a.m. EST.

Instead of maximizing the effectiveness of their live coverage, though, NBC maximized return on investment for advertisers. The athlete profiles and commercial tie-ins happen because NBC has sold millions in advertising and “retransmission fees” to corporate sponsors, so that, even as viewership declines, the network stands to make a potential six-digit Olympic profit.

That profit, though, hinges on whether NBC attracted the right number of viewers to satisfy their contracts with advertisers. If they didn’t (and things look a bit dire), NBC will have to offer “make good” apologies to companies like Procter & Gamble and Coca-Cola, and give them free advertising on other shows that have better ratings โ€” and possibly reconsider their coverage strategy for the next Olympic Games.

So a variety of issues contributed to the low ratings. These networks are hemorrhaging cash to get the rights to these sports events, but if advertisers continue to see these low ratings, it’s going to be a very bad investment.

It just seemed that there wasn’t a buzz for the Winter Olympics like there were in past years. People, at least in my circles, didn’t seem to be as invested in it as in past editions.

Twitter responds to the worst ratings ever for the 2018 Olympics:

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