Olympic Ratings Are Abysmal And Advertisers Are Not Happy About It

olympics ratings tank

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  • Ratings for the Olympics are down in a major, major way.
  • Advertisers are not happy with the fact that nobody seems to be tuning into this year’s Games in Tokyo.
  • Check out more Olympic coverage at BroBible here.

This year’s Summer Olympics in Tokyo are unlike any we’ve ever seen given the fact that the pandemic is still lingering. Add that to the fact that the Games were delayed a full year, and the buzz just simply is not there. This has resulted in a major ratings tank.

The opening ceremony garnered only 17 million viewers on NBC according to Nielsen, which is a 36% drop from the company’s broadcast of the opening ceremony at the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Without fans in attendance, not many people cared to watch athletes walk into an empty arena, but the viewership dip doesn’t stop there.

While viewership has increased compared to the debacle that was this year’s opening ceremony, Monday’s events averaged just 14.7 million viewers, an almost 50% clip from the same night during the 2016 Summer Games.

Monday’s telecast also shed 53% of viewers from coverage of the first weeknight primetime during the 2012 Olympics in London. Most notably, declines were even larger among the demographic of adults aged 18-49, according to Fox News.

As you might imagine, advertisers that spent millions upon millions of dollars to be a part of the Olympic broadcast are less than thrilled about these numbers.

Advertisers Voicing Their Frustrations With Low Olympic Ratings

Ratings for NBCU’s TV broadcasts are “clearly are not what NBC, our agency or our clients were looking for,” media buying executive told Variety.

NBCU and several media agencies have entered into discussions for “make goods,” or ad inventory that is given to sponsors when a program fails to meet its original viewership guarantees. Ad buyers have pressed NBCU to give clients unsold Olympics inventory, noting that few other regular-season TV events will draw the consumer impressions that the Olympics do.

One person familiar with NBCU said the company believes it has built in a sufficient amount of make-goods in its modeling of Olympics sales to ensure advertisers get the impressions they were promised.

Simone Biles quitting in the middle of a competition, Naomi Osaka losing in the third round, the U.S. men’s basketball team and U.S. women’s soccer teams getting off to slow starts, and the time difference is not a recipe for success.

Mark Harris avatar
Mark is an associate editor and the resident golf guy here at BroBible. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ItIsMarkHarris. You can reach him at Mark@BroBible.com.