I just don’t understand why the American public would be tuning out the Olympics. Turning the games into a North Korea love-fest and listening to social justice warriors attack the vice-president surely should be a winner!
But in the past two years, even sports have fallen victim to the same trends plaguing the broader industry. First the NFL’s ratings fell. Now we’ve seen that same drop hit consecutive Summer and Winter Games.
Viewership for the current Olympics on NBC is down 24% compared to Sochi among viewers aged 18-49, the age demographic most coveted by advertisers. (NBC notes that the demo is actually down only 15% when including viewers from both NBC and NBC Sports Network, which is airing prime time coverage of the Winter Games for the first time.)
But even the Opening Ceremony, which is typically a major draw, was down 8.6% from four years ago.
While the Winter Games tend to be less popular than those in the summer, the 2016 Rio Olympics didn’t fare much better.
Ratings then were down from 2012, and NBC reportedly had to issue advertisers “make-goods” in the form of free ad time because initial ads didn’t reach the agreed upon number of viewers.
NBC, like all networks, makes money from advertising and “retransmission” fees it charges cable providers and local stations to air its content. Networks typically know what their retransmission fees are going to be, they’re essentially baked into budgets, but advertising dollars aren’t guaranteed and are less secure, especially in today’s changing climate.
Liberals are desperate to convince the general public the reason for the ratings crash is because of the general decline in TV viewing, as video gaming, social media, Netflix, Hulu, and the internet increasingly compete with cable TV for viewer eyeballs.
The problem with this argument is, even as Olympic and NFL ratings are imploding, NBA ratings are way up. I think it’s almost impossible at this point not to conclude that politics is having a major impact on the decline of ratings in certain pro sports.
However, I don’t expect any changes in course. The social justice warriors running these games and networks are religious zealots who would rather destroy industries to virtue signal than actually make money.