Olympic tape delays bring complaints, but NBC scores record ratings again

The Baltimore Sun

There has been no shortage of complaints about NBC tape-delaying big events until prime time. And that is sure to be the case again tonight with the second-place finish by Michael Phelps and his fellow relay swimmers getting the delay treatment.

Nevertheless, the network rolled to a second straight night of record ratings Saturday wiith 28.7 million viewers.

Again, Baltimore also failed to make the Top 20 markets in terms of viewership. That is surprising given all the Olympic connections here -- particularly with Phelps.

Read about the complaints over NBC and its affiliates delaying results here.

On Twitter, you can visist the hashtages #nbcfails or #nbcdelayed to get a sense of the level of discontent.

The most widely circulated Sunday came from #nbcdelayed. It said: "BREAKING: American colonists announce independence, King to respond."

 Here's the release from NBC Sports:

The first night of competition from the London Olympics (8:30-11:28 p.m. ET/PT) is the MOST-WATCHED for a Summer Games opening night on record, with 28.7 million average viewers, topping the first night of competition from the 1996 Atlanta Games by more than two million viewers (26.3 million).

Last night’s viewership is nearly five million more than the first night of the 2008 Beijing Olympics (24.0 million), and nearly nine million more than the first night of the 2004 Athens Olympics (19.8 million), the last European Olympics.

NBC’s two-day primetime average of 35.6 million viewers is the best start to a Summer Olympics on record, more than two million more than Atlanta (33.3 million), and more than six million more viewers than Beijing (29.5 million).

Last night’s competition on NBC, which featured the first duel between Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps, earned a 15.8/29 national rating/share, the best for a non-U.S. Summer Olympics opening night in 36 years since Montreal Olympics. The rating is 14 percent higher than the first night of the Beijing Olympics (13.9/27), which featured live coverage of Phelps’ first of his eight gold medals.

Last night’s national rating of 15.8/29 is also 34 percent higher than the first night of competition in Athens in 2004 (11.8/23), the last European Olympics.


1. London – 2012
 28.7 Million NBC
2. Atlanta – 1996
 26.3 Million NBC
3. Beijing – 2008
 24.0 Million NBC
4. Seoul – 1988
 23.8 Million NBC
5. Barcelona – 1992
 21.6 Million NBC
6. Sydney – 2000
 21.0 Million NBC
7. Athens – 2004
 19.8 Million NBC 


9:46 a.m.-Noon ET/PT averaged 12.3 million viewers, an increase of 56% over the first Saturday morning at the Beijing Games (7.9 million from 10 a.m.-Noon). The household rating in this time period (7.9/22) is 49% higher than the comparable morning from Beijing (5.3/16).

The Noon-6 p.m. ET/PT window drew 14.9 million viewers and a household rating of 9.3/23, an increase of 20% and 19%, respectively vs. Beijing Games.

The early-morning window (5-9:46 a.m. ET/PT) drew 5.1 million viewers and had a household rating of 3.6/16. There is no comparable coverage for this time period in previous Games.

The late night program (12:30-1:18 a.m. ET/PT) drew 7.4 million viewers and a household rating of 4.9/15, an increase of 35% and 29%, respectively.


1. Salt Lake City
2. San Diego
3. Kansas City
4. Columbus
5. Ft. Myers
6. Milwaukee
7. Denver
8. Indianapolis
9. Sacramento
10. Nashville
11. Oklahoma City
12. St. Louis
13. Richmond
14. Portland
T15. San Francisco
T15. Boston
T17. Norfolk
T17. Albuquerque
T17. Jacksonville
20. Phoenix

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