TV Ratings: Rio Olympics Hit Low in Final Stretch

The Games dipped in the last night of competition with a 3.5 rating.
NBC Universal
Matt Lauer (left) and Ryan Lochte

The Rio Olympics dropped in its final night of competition.

With a 3.5 rating in adults 18 to 49 and 14.55 million total viewers, the Games drew in the lowest numbers of the 2016 Summer Olympics on Saturday night. It marked a 20 percent drop in the key demo and 20 percent decline in total viewers. The prior low for the Games was Friday's 4.7 rating and 18.14 million viewers, according to fast nationals.

Overall, the 15 nights of competition averaged 27.5 million viewers, according to NBC's Total Audience Delivery metric that incorporates average viewing across broadcast, cable and digital platforms. It makes the 2016 Games the second-highest viewed Olympics on record (excluding U.S.-hosted years) just behind the London 2012 Games, which averaged 30.3 million viewers.

Day 15 of the Olympics was highlighted by Allyson Felix leading the U.S. women’s 4x400m relay to its sixth consecutive gold medal, giving her an Olympic record six individual gold medals; LaShawn Merritt anchoring the U.S. men to gold in the 4x400m relay; Matthew Centrowitz winning the men’s 1500m to give the U.S. its first gold medal in the event since 1908; Great Britain’s Mo Farah clinching gold in the men’s 5000m to complete his historic double-double; and defending champion David Boudia earning bronze in the men’s platform diving final for the U.S.

Coverage also included an exclusive one-on-one interview between Matt Lauer and Ryan Lochte, who explained the "robbery" incident that took place in Rio de Janeiro last weekend.

NBC still won the night, however, averaging a 3.5 rating in the demo and 14.55 million viewers. ABC, CBS and Fox all lagged behind with a 0.5 rating and all less than 3 million viewers.

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