February 24, 2014 12:28pm PT by Michael O'Connell
TV Ratings: NBC's Sochi Coverage Averaged 21.4 Million Nightly Viewers
There will still be more numbers to come for the 2014 Winter Olympics -- but as of final ratings available Monday morning, NBC's coverage of Sochi saw nightly averages in line with what those first days suggested. Sochi was up from 2006's Winter Games in Torino but down from Vancouver in 2010.
All told, NBC averaged 21.4 million viewers in primetime between the Feb. 7 opening ceremony and the Feb. 23 closing ceremony. Sochi saw several spikes along the way, but the last three days of coverage were all down significantly from recent games, due in part to Team USA's general absence from the eleventh hour events and medal ceremonies.
Over the course of the games, Sochi's viewership average edged Torino (20.2 million) by 6 percent and fell 12 percent shy of Vancouver's 24.4 million viewers. The lengthy time delay between the events and their stateside broadcasts did not work in Sochi's favor regarding the advertiser-targeted adults 18-49 demo. With an average 5.5 rating, Sochi was down 10 percent from Torino and 17 percent from Vancouver.
The lack of an evening hockey showdown hindered the final night of coverage. With the U.S. out of the men's medal competition by Saturday morning, Sunday's closing ceremony had no massive lead-in like Vancouver. The pageantry averaged 15.1 million viewers, down more than 6 million from Vancouver.
The games again lost the demo to Sunday champ The Walking Dead, and the AMC drama closed the total viewers gap with its rival of the last three weeks by averaging 13.1 million viewers in the common hour. And NBC Sports' much-hyped Nancy & Tonya documentary, while big, did not break any records with 12.7 million viewers.
The total number of U.S. Olympic impressions has yet to be released, but after the first week, NBC Sports noted that 151 million U.S. viewers had tuned in to the coverage through Feb. 13.