NBC Says Weekday Daytime Olympic Viewership Sets a Record

Daytime weekday viewership of the London Olympics has averaged 7.1 million, a 31 percent jump from 2008 and a record for non-U.S. Summer Games, NBC Universal said.

The audience totaled 212.7 million as of Aug. 10, making it the second-most watched event in U.S. television history, NBC said in an e-mailed statement today. With the closing ceremony tonight, the London Games can surpass the 215 million viewers of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, said NBC, a unit of Comcast Corp.

“Every weekday daytime telecast from the London Olympics has topped the viewership of the comparable day in Beijing,” the network said in the statement.

NBC said 5.4 million U.S. viewers watched the daytime coverage in Beijing, the fourth-best weekday audience for non-U.S. Summer Games. Barcelona ranked second in 1992 with average viewership of 5.9 million, while Seoul was third in 1988 with 5.5 million.

Primetime coverage of the Olympics averaged 31.1 million viewers in the first 16 nights, the most of any non-U.S. Summer Olympics since Montreal in 1976, according to NBC.

On Aug. 2, NBC Sports Chairman Mark Lazarus said he saw a “small chance” for a profit on the media company’s coverage of the London Olympics because of larger TV audiences and higher-than-projected advertising sales.

NBC paid about $1.18 billion for U.S. TV rights to the Olympics.

Shares of Philadelphia-based Comcast rose 18 cents to $34.73 in trading on Aug. 10, and are up 47 percent this year.

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