— Published 14 February 2022

NBC’s bad accounts

The management of the American channel NBC, the exclusive holder of the rights to the Games in the United States, has made no secret of the fact that Beijing 2022 is a flop on television. Since the start of the event, the NBCUniversal group’s Olympic programmes have had an average audience of only 13.2 million viewers per day. Four years earlier, at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Games, the daily average reached 23 million people in the US. Disappointing. But NBC’s general manager of sports, Pete Bevacqua, admitted as much in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter: the network was not expecting a big hit from the Beijing Games, held in the midst of a health crisis. “There’s no way around this, he said. The fact that we’ve been able to bring these Games to life during a pandemic with only a six-month window between the two [Olympics], the ratings are — of course we always want to have the ratings better — but the ratings for these Games, as I said, are about where we thought they’d be” Other reasons given by NBC for the low ratings were the lack of spectators at the venues and the requirement for athletes to wear masks. “It’s no secret that masked athletes, venues without spectators, all of that takes away a lot of the passion and excitement, those great moments when Olympic athletes embrace their family, friends, spouses and partners,” suggests Pete Bevacqua.