Those who are not enthused about watching this year’s Olympics are not alone. The ratings have come in and they are
not good. The preliminary data shows that people are starting to turn away from the ceremonies in droves. So why is
this the case?
The numbers are hard to deny. The viewership is as small as it’s been in 33 years. Can you believe that only 16.7 million viewers are said to have tuned in? Of course, there are fair explanations for the decline, as viewing habits have definitely changed a lot over the years. Now that more and more are watching sports on mobile devices, this is sure to decrease the viewing numbers.
NBC has offered up a wide variety of ways for viewers to catch their favorite competitions. Many still rely on traditional television networks and NBC has everyone covered there. In addition to the traditional outlets, their sister networks (such NBCSH and USA) are also broadcasting various events. Online streaming is being included among the broadcasts that are airing under the NBC Universal umbrella.
More games can be seen, as this gives viewers the options to find the competitions that mean the most to them and watch them more closely. Gone are the days when viewers were beholden to the whims of the main network. They have all sorts of options that were simply not available to them before. The Daily Mail has more about the ratings snafu, though:
“Across all platforms, including NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app, 17 million people watched the ceremony, NBCUniversal said in an email.
The streaming audience on those platforms grew 76 percent from the 2018 PyeongChang opening ceremony and 72 percent from the 2016 Rio opener, reflecting a change in viewing habits.”
Olympic protesters have shut down one of the busiest roads in Tokyo, in Harajuku. Police are clearing the road for them and yelling into megaphones asking passersby to make way for protesters pic.twitter.com/xkSVNY7Cdj
— Michelle Ye Hee Lee (@myhlee) July 23, 2021
The cooperation of police and protesters stood out to me too. Protest organizers submitted their route and got a permit. There were officers in front, along route and at the end, like a procession. Organizers talked to police about traffic issues to safely guide the protest. https://t.co/JTBKfIx7gE
— Michelle Ye Hee Lee (@myhlee) July 24, 2021
This year is a bit different from years past, however. The opening ceremonies are usually a lot of fun to watch, as everyone likes to see their favorite athletes from their home countries, all decked out in their official uniforms. The elaborate ceremonies always end with fireworks, adding a nice cherry on top of the proceedings. This year, on the other hand?
It was not nearly as fun. The stands were empty, giving the whole thing a far more sad and gloomy vibe. There was no applause to speak of, outside of the players themselves. You’re just not going to have the same level of excitement under the current circumstances, no matter how hard you try. The camera shots of parents stuck at home, unable to watch their children compete were also depressing. The Daily Mail has more:
“Friday’s audience reflects a steep drop, despite difficult comparisons with previous opening ceremonies when viewers had fewer streaming options.
The Tokyo opener TV audience declined 37 percent from 2016, when 26.5 million people watched the Rio de Janeiro Games opener, and 59 percent from 2012, when 40.7 million people watched the London ceremony.
It was the lowest audience for the opening ceremony since the 1988 Seoul Games, which attracted 22.7 million TV viewers. It was also lower than the 1992 Barcelona Games, when 21.6 million people tuned in, according to Nielsen data.”
Jill Biden was on hand for the ceremony but Joe was not. Sleepy Joe was too busy trashing Trump to make time for it and the Japanese prime minister did not even bother to invite him. So much for all of that respect foreign leaders were supposed to have for us now!
It does not help that the pandemic is still raging, either. The people of Japan have taken to the streets and they are not pleased. The opening ceremony was also aired without taking the time to consider the time difference between our two countries. NBC’s coverage began live at 6:55 AM, which is obviously not the best time for most viewers. Between the political aspect and the time constraints, it remains to be seen if the ratings will be able to bounce back!