NBC scored the best overnight ratings ever for an opening ceremony of a non-U.S. Olympics.
The opening ceremony, featuring director Danny Boyle's spectacular, song-filled celebration of Great Britain, earned a 23.0 overnight rating and a 40 share from 8 p.m. to midnight, according to data from The Nielsen Company. Viewers saw James Bond, Sir Paul McCartney, dancing and texting Britons, and a parachuting Queen Elizabeth.
The 23.0/40 is seven percent higher than the opening ceremony for the 2008 Beijing Olympics (21.5/37), 10 percent higher than the Lillehammer Games (21.0/34), and 15 percent higher than the opening ceremony for the 2010 Vancouver Games (20.0/33).
Opening ceremonies for U.S. opening ceremonies have been much stronger: Los Angeles in 1984 had a 29.5/55, Salt Lake City in 2002 had a 27.9/43, and Atlanta in 1996 had a 27.2/47.