PyeongChang Flames Out as Least-Watched Winter Olympics Ever

Average audience slips 7 percent from Sochi, which also aired on NBC

Last Updated: February 26, 2018 @ 4:56 PM

NBC’s primetime coverage of the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea closed out on Sunday as the least-watched in recorded history.

Olympics coverage across NBC broadcast, NBC Sports and NBC Sports Digital averaged 19.8 million viewers. That’s down seven percent from the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, which did not include simultaneous coverage on cable and digital. On NBC alone, coverage of the 2018 games was watched by 17.8 million viewers.

The most-watched Winter Olympics of the last 20 years were the 2002 games in Salt Lake City, which averaged 31.9 million.

Despite the decline, NBC’s coverage still managed to handily defeat the other broadcast networks across all 18 nights, nearly doubling the average viewership of ABC, CBS and Fox combined.

2018 marked the first time primetime coverage was also aired on NBC Sports, which proved to be a huge boon to the network. NBC Sports is on track to finish February as the most-watched cable sports network and post its best month ever with an average total-day viewership of 768,000.

NBC Sports Digital also streamed every event of the PyeongChang games live, notching 2.17 billion streaming minutes — more than triple that of Sochi.

“We are successful against every important measurement. Viewers came in droves across all dayparts and platforms, our advertisers are all delivered, and our affiliate and distribution partners are extremely happy,” Mark Lazarus, chairman of NBC Broadcasting and Sports, said in a statement.