A highlight package of pool swimming at the 2022 FINA World Championships drew fewer than 200,000 viewers on NBC on Sunday, according to Show Buzz Daily.
The event was available for viewing across NBC’s streaming platform, Peacock, throughout the duration of the event (June 18-25), and was also available on the Olympic Channel.
Upon the conclusion of the competition in Budapest, NBC featured a highlights package on its main network at 12 pm E.T. on Sunday, June 26.
The package failed to crack 200K viewers, which is the minimum requirement to be listed on Show Buzz Daily.
The event was followed by the final round of the LPGA Women’s PGA Championship, which drew approximately 849,000 viewers.
None of the daily airings on The Olympic Channel had over 200,000 viewers either.
The U.S. Track & Field Championships, for example, picked up over 1,000,000 viewers in perhaps a more favorable timeslot (4 p.m.) on Saturday and Sunday, though that was live coverage compared to the compressed highlight package that swimming received.
Other sports outside of the primary ones (football, basketball, baseball, motor sports, golf, college baseball and soccer) that outdrew swimming included major league rugby (281,000) and the Westminster Dog Show (450,000 on Wednesday, 282,000 on Tuesday).
Failing to reach 200,000 viewers is a downturn compared to some recent television ratings for swimming.
In early April, a highlights package of the Pro Swim Series meet in Mission Viejo drew 537,000 viewers on NBC, while the International Swimming League’s network television debut in October 2020 on CBS picked up 381,000 viewers.
The numbers pale in comparison to the juggernaut that is the U.S. Olympic Trials, however, which averaged 2.7 million nightly viewers on NBC last year. Of course, the Olympic Trials receive daily primetime coverage on the main NBC network, which gives it a huge boost.
Having the daily finals on The Olympic Channel relative to NBC has a significant impact on viewership, as NBC is available to approximately 277 million households in the U.S., compared to 35 million for the Olympic Channel.
The time difference in the World Championships could’ve played a part in a relative lack of interest from American viewers, who, for the most part, would’ve been asleep during the preliminary heats (3 am E.T.) and at work during finals (12 p.m. ET).
The U.S. team set an all-time record by winning 45 medals at the championships, blowing past their previous total of 38 set in 2017.