USA Swimming Sets Goal of 45 Million TV Viewers for 2024 Olympic Trials on NBC

USA Swimming has high hopes for the 2024 Olympic Trials this summer at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana.

At January’s Board of Directors meeting, USA Swimming chief commercial officer Shana Ferguson shared the organization’s goal of totaling 45 million television viewers for finals on NBC across the nine nights of U.S. Trials competition from June 15-23.

USA Swimming is aiming to average five million viewers per night — almost double the 2.7 million average at the 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials in Omaha, Nebraska. It would be more than the 2016 average of 4.5 million viewers, but less than the all-time high of 6.7 million from 2012. Back in 2008, NBC averaged 5.1 million viewers across the four swimming broadcasts. Of course, American superstar Michael Phelps appeared at the U.S. Olympic Trials in 2008, 2012, and 2016, but not in 2021.

U.S. Olympic Trials Viewership Average Per Night

  • 2024 goal: 5 million
  • 2021: 2.7 million
  • 2016: 4.5 million
  • 2012: 6.7 million
  • 2008: 5.1 million

USA Swimming also set a goal to stream morning prelims sessions of Olympic Trials, but there is no platform identified in the organization’s plans yet.

There will be a few sporting events to compete with on television in mid-June, with the NBA Finals scheduled to take place around then, the U.S. Open (golf) running from June 13-16, and the NCAA College Baseball World Series taking place from June 14-23.

USA Swimming is also looking to set the new world record for largest swim meet in history as Lucas Oil Stadium will reportedly be able to seat up to 30,000 fans per session. It will be the first time that the U.S. Olympic swimming trials have ever been held on a football field, where three temporary pools will be constructed. Indianapolis also hosted U.S. Olympic Trials in 2000, 1996, 1992, 1984, 1952 (women), as well as a century ago ahead of the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris.

As of last month, the event is on track to be less than half-sold compared to USA Swimming’s initial 30,000 estimate, with about 17,000 tickets projected to go unsold at the current pace. According to CEO Tim Hinchey’s key performance indicators (KPIs), the target attendance for Trials is 65% capacity for finals sessions.

The cheapest all-session ticket is currently going for $475 while the cheapest single-day seat for the opening night (June 15) is going for around $61. At January’s Board of Directors meeting, senior marketing and communications director Jake Grosser said that USA Swimming has totaled more than $7 million in ticket revenue from the event so far.

Also at January’s Board of Directors meeting, USA Swimming chief financial officer Eric Skufca identified partnership marketing revenue and Trials ticket revenue as “the two most material remaining variables” in hitting the organization’s goal of a $1.3 million surplus for the Olympic cycle ending this year.

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1 month ago

When this ends in financial disaster, can we go back to Omaha? I know it’s not the easiest to fly in and out of, but it was easy to get around once there and they put on a great show.

Reply to  Texan
1 month ago

No one does it better than Indy!

1 month ago

is this the April Fool’s article?

1 month ago

I’m attending as a spectator on Wednesday night for the first time in a long time and I’m excited to do so, but I was perplexed at the amount of seats still available on ALL nights according to the stadium seat selection chart online. Part of me legitimately feels like I’ll be the only one in the entire stadium other than the athletes and coaches. I’m a long time coach who recently got out of it, still love the sport and support the athletes, but I don’t know if USA SWIMMING has the star power it did in the Phelps era to build enough hype to draw an audience of 45mm viewers. I mean Men’s NCAA this past weekend was… Read more »

Reply to  LoveOfTheSport
26 days ago

NCAA swimming was great this year even though my cal bears didn’t win lol… March Madness ended with the predictable UConn winning it. Non swimmers don’t know or care enough about swimming to watch the trials, they only care during the olympics.

Last edited 26 days ago by calswimboy
1 month ago

Totally grandiose. Judging by the numbers at the last two nationals/trials and world championships they will be lucky to get 25 million for all 9 evenings.

1 month ago

Hopefully the time of day the races start is convenient. That has made watching the trials more difficult in the past.

Texas Swimming
1 month ago

Just tell the public an NFL game in the Colts stadium is airing

Reply to  Texas Swimming
1 month ago

Average NFL game gets 18 million viewers so just run it day 1, 4, and 9 and hope they forget the scam in between. Brilliant.

Angello J Malefakis
1 month ago

Simply put USA Swimming is out of touch with reality. They are turning the sport of swimming into an ELITIST sport with high ticket prices. Than again how much of this revenue going to end up with the swimmers? They are still living in the past of Avery Brundage where athletes are struggling to make a living and the fat cat’s of USA Swimming are ripping the benefits at the expense of the athletes. Just look at the outrageous salaries at USA Swimming and compare that to the top 10/20/30 swimmers. It is a joke 😂😂😂

1 month ago

I might be the only person who cares, but I’m curious to see who NBC will pick as the on deck reporter at trials and in Paris now that Michele Tafoya is no longer there.

My guess is it’ll be Melissa Stark since she does Sunday Night Football, but it could also be Kathryn Tappen, Kira Dixon, or even Elizabeth Beisel (unlikely but I can hope).

Reply to  Jonathan
1 month ago

Beisel was great at NCAA’s

About Riley Overend

Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor at newspapers …

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