About 17 million people in the United States watched the Olympic opening ceremonies on Friday, according to data released by NBC.
NBC Sports said in a series of tweets on Saturday that the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics drew about 17 million viewers across all of its platforms, based on preliminary figures.
“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.”
Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony Viewership Notes -- 1 of 5 pic.twitter.com/WdhLQKicnd— NBC Sports PR (@NBCSportsPR) July 24, 2021
NBCUniversal owns the media rights in the U.S. to broadcast the Olympics.
The numbers are the lowest since 21.6 million people watched the opening ceremony for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, according to Nielsen data.
According to Reuters, the numbers are a 37 percent decline from the 2016 Rio Olympics opening ceremony, when 40.7 million people watched.
Responding to the apparent low viewership, NBC Sports said on Twitter that for context, viewership for award shows dropped between 68 and 72 percent over the pst years.
Adding Context: in last five years (span between Summer Olympics) award shows are down 68-72% in viewership https://t.co/r8xLnVpCMO— NBC Sports PR (@NBCSportsPR) July 24, 2021
NBC Sports said its streaming audience on NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app was up 72 percent from the opener of the 2016 games, and 76 percent from the opening ceremony of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics.
The Tokyo opening ceremony on NBC delivered the “most watched Friday night on Broadcast TV” since the PyeongChang Olympics, NBC said.
The ceremony was the second-most watched standalone primetime entertainment telecast since the pandemic began in March, excluding post- Superbowl coverage, the network also stated.
The Olympics officially opened in Japan on Friday after being delayed last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.