Sochi Olympics Posts Solid Results, But Didn't Top Vancouver Games

For its entire 16-day run of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, NBC put up some strong numbers when it came to its competition -- as well as topping its results versus Torino eight years ago. But it couldn't top the Vancouver Winter Games of 2010.

NBC scored an average Nielsen 21.4 million viewers -- up 6% from the 20.2 million average of the 2006 Torino Winter Games, the last European-based winter games. But Sochi was 12% lower than the 24.4 million average versus the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010.

The poor comparisons to Vancouver were somewhat expected as a result of fewer live events on the NBC Television Network for the Sochi games, given the North American time zone differences.

NBC's “Closing Ceremony” on Sunday earned 15.1 million viewers -- 2% higher than the 2006 Winter Torino Games, which had 14.8 million. Sunday's last night of the Sochi Olympics earned a 3.3 rating/8 share among 18-49 viewers. This compares with the closing ceremony in Vancouver, which pulled in a 5.5 adults 18-49 rating.

An NBC special hour-and-a-half program about 1992 U.S. figure skating Olympians Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding at 7 p.m. took in 12.7 million viewers and a 2.6 rating/8 share among 18-49 viewers.

The only competition for NBC’s Olympic programming on the night was Fox's airing of the “Daytona 500,” which took in a 2.5/7 and 8 million overall viewers, down significantly versus its numbers of a year ago. NBC's “Growing Up Fisher,” a new half-hour show that followed the Olympics, had a 2.0/6 among 18-49 viewers.

On the night, NBC had a Nielsen preliminary 2.9/8; Fox, a 2.0/5; ABC, 1.3/4; Univision, 1.2/3; and CBS, a 1.0/3.

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