The consensus expectation among sports media and TV observers was that ratings for the 2022 Winter Olympics would be lower than its predecessors for NBC. Perhaps even the lowest ever.
One day after the closing ceremony in Beijing, the numbers are in and met those lowered expectations. According to NBC, the network averaged 10.7 million viewers per night during the Winter Games. Across all platforms, including USA Network and streaming numbers on Peacock, that number increased to 11.4 million.
The previous Winter Games in PyeongChang averaged 17.5 million live and same day primetime viewers and increased to 18.2 million when one week of delayed viewing was counted. (Streaming wasn’t as much of an option for viewers in 2018.) So the Beijing Games suffered a 39 percent drop in audience by comparison.
Last year’s Tokyo Summer Olympics averaged 15.6 million viewers across television and digital platforms. At the time, those were the lowest numbers ever for an Olympic Games. (And the PyeongChang numbers were the lowest before that, so you can see the downward trend.)
A number of factors will surely be cited for the decline in viewership. There was a lack of interest in the Winter Games just six months after the COVID-19 delayed Summer Games were held. Concern and protest over China’s human rights violations were certainly a consideration. And the 13-hour time difference between Beijing and the U.S. Eastern time zone meant results were known long before they could be shown in primetime.
TV viewership in general has decreased during the pandemic, while viewers have many more options to consider with streaming platforms with shows and movies that are in the cultural conversation more than the Winter Olympics.
But for the “nobody watched the Winter Olympics” naysayers, NBC can still boast that the Beijing Games drew the highest primetime audience since last September for anything besides NFL telecasts (Sunday, Monday, and Thursday nights).
And some media observers, such as Sports Business Journal‘s John Ourand, believe future Olympics telecast will be on the upswing with less of a time difference in Paris and Italy, followed by the 2028 Summer Olympics being held in Los Angeles.
Greg Olsen To Partner With Kevin Burkhardt For Super Bowl LVII
“Last season was the first Burkhardt and Olsen worked together. They largely won rave reviews.”
The deal isn’t done yet, but Andrew Marchand of The New York Post reports that Greg Olsen is on his way to joining Kevin Burkhardt in the top NFL booth at FOX. Although Tom Brady will take over that role after he retires and leaves the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Olsen will spend at least this season on FOX’s A-Team.
Last season was the first Burkhardt and Olsen worked together. They largely won rave reviews.
Earlier this year, the former Panther told The Mac Attack on WFNZ in Charlotte that he was disappointed he didn’t get to call a postseason game. He will more than make up for that in 2023. As Burkhardt’s partner, Olsen is in line to be the analyst for Super Bowl LVII.
Marchand writes that we could get a taste of what is to come in February. He speculates that if the Buccaneers are not in the Super Bowl, it is possible Tom Brady could make his FOX debut, either in the booth alongside Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen or as part of the network’s studio show.
Now, FOX has to make a decision about it’s number 2 NFL booth. According to Marchand, Drew Brees is a candidate to be the analyst. Adam Amin and Joe Davis have emerged as candidates for the play-by-play role.
Poll Data Shows Tepid Response To Tom Brady Joining FOX
“A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.”
FOX Sports reportedly signed Tom Brady to a 10-year deal worth $375 million to make the seven-time Super Bowl champion the new lead analyst for its top NFL broadcast once his playing career is over.
A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.
The poll said 2 in 5 NFL fans have a better opinion of FOX Sports following the deal, with 41% of NFL fans being at least somewhat more likely to watch a game with Brady as an analyst.
Data shows one-third of NFL fans think the deal Brady reportedly agreed to is worth about the same as its reported value.
That reaction could probably be described as “tepid”. That may be exactly what FOX expects and maybe all it wants.
Last week, Domonique Foxworth of ESPN suggested that the paycheck is less about what the network thinks Tom Brady means to viewers and more about showing the NFL that the network values its product.
FOX Not Interested In Joining Streaming Sports Wars
“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take?”
The CEO of FOX doesn’t plan on forking over billions of dollars to be people’s last choice for paid streaming services.
Lachlan Murdoch said at a time when more than 80% of American homes already have some kind of paid streaming service, it’s not worthwhile to jump on that train.
Amazon, Netflix and Disney+ typically account for the average streaming presence in a household.
“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take,” Murdoch said at a tech conference earlier this year. “And so the billions of dollars that’s being spent by multiple aspirants is all for that last position. And so we are extraordinarily — I want to say that — we’re happy to be sort of sitting on the sidelines.”
Murdoch told Benjamin Swinburne that when it comes to the NFL, FOX’s media rights are the same as CBS, NBC and ESPN. The main focus for the company remains on keeping games on TV.
“We don’t believe it helps us to put those rights under a streaming service or free on over-the-air. We think it’s very important that those rights remain exclusive to the broadcast environment,” Murdoch said.
FOX does stream games through its app, but it is only the games it is also carrying on its broadcast network or FS1.