Olympics ratings are clearly highest among older viewers, finds the study. Ratings among teenagers are 57% lower than the national average for this year's primetime Olympics broadcasts.
Some additional ratings include ethnicity, geography, and equipment:
To lend context to these demographic insights, Nielsen compared U.S. viewership trends from the Olympics to trends from the Super Bowl played earlier this month.
Ratings among female Olympics viewers are 9% higher than the national average, says the report, while ratings among male Olympics viewers are 9% lower. In contrast, female ratings were 11% lower than the Super Bowl's national average, while male ratings were 11% higher.
Much like the Olympics, ratings for the Super Bowl were highest among older viewers. Ratings among teenagers for the Super Bowl were 20% lower than the national average (compared to the 57% lower ratings for the Olympics). Ratings for the Super Bowl improve in older demographics, where the ratings are 6% higher than the national average in the 18-49 age group and 15% higher among those 55 and up.
Age Group Viewership Index (vs. Total Average Viewership)
Super Bowl XLIV
Source: The Nielsen Company, February 2009
The comparison also found that a larger percentage of Super Bowl viewers were African-American, Hispanic, or Asian (23% compared to 11% for the Olympics). Ratings within the African-American and Hispanic markets were also higher in the Super Bowl when compared to the national average for each event. Ratings for African-American viewers were 18% lower than the national average for the Super Bowl while Hispanic ratings for the game were 49% lower. Asian ratings for both events were almost identical (16% below average for the Super Bowl vs. 15% below average for the Olympics).
Broken down by individual event, freestyle skiing, which includes men's and women's moguls competition, was the most popular Olympic sport among US TV weekend viewers through February 15, according to a minute-by-minute analysis of viewing conducted by Nielsen.
As reported by MarketingCharts, during NBC's primetime broadcast coverage, an average of 26.9 million viewers watched the freestyle events in the first weekend of Olympic competition:
However, Nielsen analysis of Internet buzz from February 9-18, 2010 shows that hockey is the most discussed Olympic sport online. Among all online messages related to winter Olympic sports, more than 30% were linked to hockey. Luge generated the second highest amount of buzz over that time, with almost 18%, followed by figure skating with 10% of Olympics sports buzz.
Additional information from Nielsen may be found here.