NBC’s four-hour-long broadcast of the Tokyo Olympics received 16.7 million views. The smallest U.S. television audience for the event in the past 33 years.
Going back to the opening ceremony in 1988, Seoul Game attracted 22.7 million views.
According to Nielsen data supplied to Reuters, the 1992 Barcelona Games had 21.6 million people tune in, although some critics anticipated poor turnout before even one athlete entered the arena.
Corporate media has been quick to trash the opener as a somber production performed to a “sea of empty seats,” a striking departure from the vibrancy and life that featured Olympics’ past, as Breitbart News reported.
According to the New York Times, the performances themselves aimed to “divert the message of the Games away from the pandemic and scandals and toward the more anodyne themes of peace and global harmony.”
“But that messaging may have little resonance with the Japanese public, as coronavirus infections in Tokyo have risen to a six-month high and the domestic vaccine rollout has proceeded slowly,” the Times reported.
“Protesters outside the stadium could be heard yelling ‘Stop the Olympics” through bullhorns,’” during the quieter moments the paper reported.
During the scaled-down Opening Ceremony, there were 10,400 people in the 68,000-seat Olympic Stadium, which included 6,000 team delegations, nearly 900 VIPs, and 3,500 media members.
NBC broadcasted the ceremony live at 6:55 am ET on Friday, despite the 13 hr difference in time. NBC’s taped, the primetime broadcast began at 7:30 p.m. ET.
NBC acknowledged the toll of the pandemic in their primetime coverage.
“Absence makes the heart grow fonder,” trilled host Savannah Guthrie, co-anchor of NBC News’ “Today” morning show. “There’s nothing like an opening ceremony to really get you excited for the Olympic Games.”
The lack of viewers suggests otherwise, as the prospect of “woke” athletes using the world stage to embrace political protest looms ahead.
According to a poll this week by the Asahi Shimbun newspaper, the Games have been deeply unpopular with the Japanese public, with 55 percent saying they opposed holding the Olympics and 68 percent doubting they can be held safely.
The Opening and Closing Ceremonies are being held at Olympic Stadium in Tokyo, used as the main stadium for the Tokyo 1964 Olympic Games. However, it was rebuilt as a new stadium for the Tokyo 2020 Games.