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Ratings for Beijing Olympics tank; 2022 opening ceremony hit all-time low in TV viewership

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP via Getty Images

Thus far, the 2022 Beijing Olympics have been an absolute flop. The ratings for the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics hit all-time lows.

On Saturday, NBC Sports revealed that Friday’s full-day opening ceremony coverage averaged "nearly 14 million TV-only viewers."

The viewership plunged 43% from the opening ceremony for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, which had 23.8 million people watching the international sporting event.

"The previous low over the last three decades was the 1992 Barcelona games, which had 21.6 million viewers," noted The Wrap which added, "The high watermark for an opening ceremony was the London Games in 2012, when more than 40 million tuned into NBC’s tape-delayed coverage."

Deadline reported, "A paltry 8.7 million tuned in on NBC in primetime see the pre-taped Mike Tirico and Savannah Guthrie-led coverage of the propaganda-heavy spectacle put on by Chinese President Xi Jinping and filmmaker Zhang Yimou."

The coveted advertising demographic of adults ages 18-49 averaged only a 1.2 rating, plunging 68% from 2018 (3.7) and plummeting 80% from 2014 (6.0), Sports Media Watch reported, adding, "The rating in adults 18-34 was a mere 0.7, down 73% from ’18 (2.6)."

The disastrous ratings are crippling news for NBCUniversal. In 2014, NBCUniversal paid a whopping $7.75 billion to the International Olympic Committee for the broadcast rights to the Olympic Games from 2021 through 2032. "The deal covers six Olympics, from 2021 to 2032, and gives NBC rights to all media platforms including TV, internet and mobile," according to USA Today. Previously, NBC paid $4.4 billion for four Olympics between 2011 and 2020.

A Morning Consult poll taken a week before the Beijing Olympics asked more than 2,000 American adults why they wouldn't be watching the 2022 Winter Games.

The most common reasons people gave as to why they weren't watching the Beijing Games was a lack of interest in the events (65%) and no interest in the athletes (57%).

There was 40% of Americans who said they weren't watching the Winter Olympics is because it was hosted by China.

Of the people polled, 57% of Democrats said they planned to watch some of the Beijing Olympics, compared to 40% of Republicans and 35% of independents.

Many conservatives are boycotting the Beijing Olympics over China's human rights record. On Twitter, the hashtag #GenocideGames has trended in recent days in reference to the Chinese Communist Party's abuse of Uyghurs, which includes a reported million Muslim ethnic minorities in Xinjiang internment camps.

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