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NBC's Beijing Olympic ratings called a 'disaster' for network: 'I'm stunned ... There is karma in the world'


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Fox News

A sobbing Russian figure skater berated by one of her coaches for a poor routine. Grim-looking cooling towers in the background of acrobatic snowboard jumps. Diplomatic boycotts. Half-empty stands. Announcers covering the games from Connecticut.

It all played out in a host country engaged in human rights atrocities that was also the origin site of a global pandemic.

For NBC, it wasn't exactly Olympic glory in China. 

The media adjectives pouring in to describe the legacy of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics aren't pretty: "Disaster." "Joyless." And NBC's $7.75 billion investment in 2014 that gave it exclusive American media rights to the Olympic Games through 2032 is under question after a second consecutive ratings dud. 

Through Tuesday, according to the Associated Press, an average of 12.2 million watched the Olympics in primetime on NBC, cable, or its Peacock streaming service, a 42-percent dip from the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Only 10 million watched NBC alone, a 47-percent drop from 2018, and through early last week, it was down 57 percent in the critical 25-54 age demographic from the Pyeongchang games. That was even taking into account the Super Bowl viewership boost NBC got from airing the Olympics directly after the network aired the game on Feb. 13.

"These Olympics were a disaster for the network: a buzz-free, hermetically-sealed event in an authoritarian country a half-day’s time zone away, where the enduring images will be the emotional meltdown of Russian teen-agers after a drug-tainted figure skating competition and a bereft Mikaela Shiffrin, sitting on a ski slope wondering what went wrong," the Associated Press wrote.

"Viewers stayed away in alarming numbers, and NBC has to wonder whether it was extraordinarily bad luck or if the brand of a once-unifying event for tens of millions of people is permanently tainted.:snip:

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