Wed, 29 Sep 2021

Few Americans tune in to Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony

Robert Besser
27 Jul 2021, 14:23 GMT+10

WASHINGTON D.C.: The U.S. audience watching the opening ceremonies of the Tokyo Olympics was the smallest in 33 years.

NBC's broadcast registered 16.7 million viewers, according to Comcast, owner of NBC.

In total, 17 million watched the opening ceremonies across all NBC platforms, which include and the NBC Sports app.

Of note, the streaming audience grew 76 percent during the 2018 opening ceremony and 72 percent from the 2016 Olympics opening, which officials said reflected a change in the public's viewing habits.

The TV audience for the Tokyo opening ceremonies declined 37 percent from 2016, when 26.5 million people watched, and 59 percent from 2012, when 40.7 million people watched the London Olympics opening ceremony.

The previous 33-year low for the Olympics opening ceremony was in the 1992 Barcelona Games, when 21.6 million people watched, according to Nielsen data.

Due to Covid restrictions, only 1,000 fans attended the opening ceremonies in Tokyo. Among those absent were Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and top sponsors.

Since Tokyo is 13 hours ahead of the U.S. east coast, NBC began its broadcast at 6:55 a.m. EST Friday. Also, a taped version was aired at 7:30 p.m. EST.

NBC will broadcast 7,000 hours of Olympics coverage across its multiple television networks and platforms. It will also stream over 5,500 hours of the Olympics on and its sports app.

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