What Tape-Delay? NBC’s Ratings Reach A 12-Year High

  • Jake O'Donnell

With the numbers for both U.S.-Canada games yet to be published, something tells us the best news is yet to come for NBC. FACT: The U.S.-Russia shootout game — which aired at 7:30 — was the most watched hockey game in the history of the NBC Sports Network with 4.1 million viewers. With today’s semifinal game airing at the more convenient 12:00 PM EST slot, we’re pretty confident that the bar has been raised, once again. This should give the network some artistic leeway to take chances on better, more interesting programming, like say, something that doesn’t involve police.

According to Nielsen, viewership for the U.S.-Russia game peaked with 6.9 million viewers around the 10-10:30 AM time frame. Then there’s primetime, which on Wednesday apparently went through the roof on account of U.S. figure skating champion Gracie Gold and the smirky-faced Ashley Wagner competing in Ladies Short Program. Those ratings are so good they beat non-tape-delayed Olympic numbers, which really is saying something.

[Deadline.com] With a 12.2/20 national household rating and 20.2 million viewers, Wednesday has bested both the virtually live Vancouver 2010 coverage and the tape-delayed Torino 2006 broadcast on comparable nights. [Wednesday’s] result was up a slight 2.5% and 2%, respectively, from the 11.9/20 rating and 19.2 million viewers of 2010 but rose 22% and 25% from the 10.0/15 rating and 16.0 million viewers in 2006. Which means the last time a second Wednesday of a Winter Games did that well on TV for NBC was February 20, 2002 — during the last U.S.-based games in Salt Lake City. That second Wednesday pulled in a 19.5/31 rating with an audience of 32.0 million.

We’ll have to see if today’s game had enough buzz to beat 2010’s U.S.-Canada Gold medal game, which managed to pull in 27 million viewers.