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NBC Sees Decline in Viewership for Olympics Opening Ceremony

  • About 17 million viewers tuned in, down 36% from 2016 audience
  • NBC’s Peacock streaming service records most-watched Saturday
Fireworks during the opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on July 23.

Fireworks during the opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on July 23.

Photographer: Noriko Hayashi/Bloomberg

NBC’s viewership for the Olympics opening ceremony fell sharply, an early sign of the challenges the network faces in attracting a large audience during a pandemic amid a shift in viewing habits.

On Friday, the opening ceremony in Tokyo drew about 17 million viewers, including people who streamed the event on NBC’s digital platforms. That was down about 36% from the opening ceremony in Rio in 2016, which attracted about 26.5 million people.