In the more than 50 years of televised Olympics, NBC's coverage of the Opening Ceremony of the London Olympics (8 p.m. – 12:02 a.m. ET/PT) is the MOST-WATCHED for a Summer Games on record with 40.7 million average viewers, topping the Atlanta Games (39.8 million). Last night's viewership is nearly six million more than the 2008 Beijing Olympics (34.9 million) and 15 million more than the 2004 Athens Olympics (25.4 million), the last European Olympics.
NBC SPORTS GROUP CHAIRMAN MARK LAZARUS: "This audience number for the London Opening Ceremony is a great early sign that our strategy of driving people to watch NBC in primetime is working. We look forward to the next 16 nights of compelling Olympic competition."
The Opening Ceremony on NBC earned a 21.0/37 national rating/share, the best for a non-U.S. Summer Olympics ever, and the second best for a non-U.S. Games (Summer or Winter) in 36 years – since Innsbruck in 1976 (23.2/37).
Last night's Opening Ceremony national rating of 21.0/37 is 12 percent higher than Beijing in 2008 (18.8/34) and 44 percent higher than Athens in 2004 (14.6/27).
The 21.7 rating for last night was the highest-rated Friday night on any network since the Opening Ceremony of the Salt Lake City Games (25.2 on Feb. 8, 2002).
Jim Bell served as executive producer of NBC's Opening Ceremony coverage; Bucky Gunts, director; Molly Solomon and Joe Gesue producers.
NBCUniversal, presenting its 13th Olympics, the most by any U.S. media company, will make an unprecedented 5,535 hours of the 2012 London Olympics coverage available across NBC, NBC Sports Network, MSNBC, CNBC, Bravo, Telemundo, NBCOlympics.com, two specialty channels, and the first-ever 3D platform, an unprecedented level that surpasses the coverage of the 2008 Beijing Olympics by nearly 2,000 hours.
For the full schedule of NBCUniversal's Olympic coverage, please go to: NBCOlympics.com