No one is watching.
Did you watch the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympians? No? Well, you weren’t alone.
Just 16.7 million Americans tuned in to NBC’s broadcast of the ceremony, the smallest U.S. television audience to watch the event in the past 33 years, according to preliminary data from Comcast-owned NBCUniversal.
“Friday’s audience reflects a steep drop, despite difficult comparisons with previous opening ceremonies when viewers had fewer streaming options,” Reuters reported. “The Tokyo opener TV audience declined 37% from 2016, when 26.5 million people watched the Rio de Janeiro Games opener, and 59% from 2012, when 40.7 million people watched the London ceremony.”
“It was the lowest audience for the opening ceremony since the 1988 Seoul Games, which attracted 22.7 million TV viewers. It was also lower than the 1992 Barcelona Games, when 21.6 million people tuned in, according to Nielsen data,” Reuters wrote.
And even though the stadium where the opening ceremony took place was built to hold tens of thousands of people, just 950 attended amid the COVID-19 scarred games.
But NBC Sports said its online audience grew: The streaming audience on NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app rose 72% over the opener of the 2016 games and 76% from the opening ceremony of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics.
“With approximately 17 million viewers, the opening ceremony delivered a Multiplatform dominant audience in a vastly different media landscape from 5 years ago,” NBC said. “It was the most unique opening ceremony ever— designed to meet this moment of global unity.”