Olympics Viewership Goes Down


AP Images

Olympic snowboarder Chloe Kim celebrates winning gold at the 2022 Beijing Olympics on the women’s halfpipe.

Leah Feitshans, Staff Writer

  The Beijing Winter Olympics took place Feb. 4-20, 2022. The event consisted of sports such as hockey, figure skating, free style skiing, curling, snowboarding and alpine skiing.

   At the 2022 Games, there were 109 gold medals in total, up from 102 in Pyeongchang four years ago and a far cry from the 16 on offer at the first Winter Olympics at Chamonix in 1924. The United States came to Beijing with the second-most Winter Olympics medals with 305.

   Over 300 medals were awarded to Olympians participating in the 2022 Winter Games. With 15 sports and 109 events, ranging from skiing to bobsledding to figure skating, world-class athletes go for gold during a two-week global competition on the grandest stage. The Olympians had a lot to say about this competition.

   “Schouten had an incredible race and an incredible last lap. I did think I had her for sure. When I passed her on the inside on the backstretch I was like, ‘This is game over. This is mine.’” Said Canadian speedskater Ivanie Blondin after winning silver in the women’s mass start. (Which came down to a last-lap battle with gold-medal winner Irene Schouten of the Netherlands.)

   “It’s definitely tough.” He continues to say that he was here to give it everything he had, and he can confidently say he did that. So, he is proud of himself but it’s hard to be here and off the podium again. Says Canada’s Noah Bowman after coming in fourth in the men’s free ski halfpipe. He finished fifth in 2014 at Sochi and again in 2018 at Pyeongchang.

   This year, though, the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics set record low ratings in Games history. Viewership was down 42% from the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, the previous low.

   An average of 11.4 million people tuned into the primetime coverage of the Beijing Games, according to NBC, down from 19.8 million on average that watched in 2018, according to NBC. The Tokyo Summer Games that were held July 23 through Aug. 8 in 2021 averaged 15.1 million TV viewers in primetime. NBC said it drew 160 million total viewers across its various platforms, including streaming service Peacock, during the two weeks of competition from Feb. 4-20.

   The low rating could be attributed by strained relations between the United States and China due to economic and human rights issues, another Olympics held during the COVID-19 pandemic, the time zone difference (Beijing is 13 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time) and the lack of compelling stories.

   NBCUniversal Paid 7.75 billion dollars for the rights to broadcast the Olympics through 2032. The next games are set for Paris in the summer of 2024.

Kallie Humphries celebrates winning the gold in women’s monobob with fellow olympic monobobsleigher and silver medalist, Elena Meyers Taylor. This was Taylors’ fifth Olympic medal, making her officially the most decorated black, athlete in the history of the Winter Olympics. (AP Images)