NBC Primetime Viewership Up 26%, Peacock Records Record-Breaking Numbers

After reaching a 33-year low viewership for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremonies on July 23, NBC has announced that its primetime ratings are up 26%, with its streaming services reaching record-breaking viewership numbers. 

The company, which owns the rights to broadcast the Games within the United States through 2032, recorded a total of 15.3 million viewers on Saturday. 

Peacock, NBC’s streaming service, saw a record-breaking number of viewers, recording its most-consumed Saturday ever. NBC Sports Digital also set the record for the most streamed Olympics primetime show ever on Saturday. Overall, viewers have streamed over 371 million total minutes worth of Olympics content on Peacock, up 21% from the Rio Olympic Games. 

With the recent trend in streaming services, this spike was relatively expected. In the last 3 months of 2020, streaming service usage grew by 44% amid the coronavirus pandemic, with over 55% of American households utilizing at least one streaming service. 

Due to the time difference between Japan and the United States, there is also a significant increase in the number of late-night viewers. On Saturday night, NBC’s Primetime Plus show (midnight-2 a.m.) averaged a total number of approximately  4.4 million viewers, up 13% from Rio. Likewise, there has also been a 24% increase in the number of morning viewers. 

Swimming is one of the major programs that is shown during those times, with prelims occurring in the morning hours and finals at night. In fact, the International Olympics Committee adjusted the swimming schedule to account for the large US-based audience, with prelims occurring at night in Tokyo, and finals swimming in the morning. 

NBC has been utilizing the likes of Katie Ledecky and Caeleb Dressel to make a push for viewership, a strategy which appears to be beneficial based on their viewership numbers.


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1 year ago

Can NBC not get other commentators for swimming? Don’t get me wrong I like Hicks and Gaines but some new voices wouldn’t hurt

Corn Pop
1 year ago

US gym fans will have dragged themselves off the floor after Russia girls beat them in qualifications . Shock , horror but Russia has picked up 10 points since 2016 & even Biles was told – Sorry but your stuff is kinda ugly . New judging for the new quadrant. She will be getting stretched to max to avoid the dance extension deductions . A lot of extra pain .

Last edited 1 year ago by Corn Pop
Not Tapered 🏊
1 year ago

NBC news reporting leaves a little to be desired, but they cover the Olympics well led by Dan and Rowdy.

1 year ago

i think this olympics is finally taking flight. not gonna lie it was mad depressing the first couple days to see no fans and i’m sure it took an effect on the swimmers but i think at this point people are finally like, “ok, this is still the m*f* olympics” lol and it makes it almost even more exciting that there are billions of “vouyer” audience members watching on television, just none in person- however everyone is still watching. more than ever. if this pandemic taught us something (besides anything health and safety related) it’s that the show can still go on virtually

Joel Lin
Reply to  swimfast
1 year ago

The world needed this. The Olympics are good for the soul.

1 year ago

are the full race videos going to be released on youtube?

Reply to  Khachaturian
1 year ago

Only broadcasters can make full race videos available on YouTube or elsewhere at this point and they’ll always be geoblocked.

1 year ago

Viewership on Oz is off the charts when the swimming is on, according to TV officials

Reply to  Stephen
1 year ago

The Aussies have a stellar team of swimmers this year !! A lot to view and root for.

About Nicole Miller

Nicole Miller

Nicole has been with SwimSwam since April 2020, as both a reporter and social media contributor. Prior to joining the SwimSwam platform, Nicole also managed a successful Instagram platform, amassing over 20,000 followers. Currently, Nicole is pursuing her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. After competing for the swim …

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