NBC chief admits 'challenging' Olympics as Beijing's first week tumbles to record low since 2018

NBC chief admits ‘challenging’ Olympics as Beijing’s first week tumbles to record low since 2018

The NBC sports boss acknowledged that the 2022 Winter Olympics were a ratings flop and blamed COVID for the emptied stadiums, as well as masked athletes turning off spectators.

Sports CEO Pete Bevacua put on a brave face on the flop and said in an interview that the network, which owns the rights to the $7.75 billion Olympics through 2032, was expecting lower numbers.

On average, just 13.2 million viewers per day watched nightly highlights from Beijing on NBC this year—about half of the 23 million who tuned into the same leg of the 2018 Games that aired from South Korea.

“It was difficult for us. There’s no getting around it,” Bevacua told The Hollywood Reporter. “The fact that we were able to bring these Games to life during the pandemic in just six months between two [Olympics]ratings – of course, we always want the ratings to be higher – but the ratings of these Games, as I said, are about the same as we expected.

Bevacqua also said empty venues and many athletes forced to wear masks also took their toll on spectators.

“It’s no secret that masked athletes, spectatorless venues, so much passion and excitement, those wonderful moments when Olympic athletes hug their family, friends, spouses and partners, so much magic is simply not there by necessity,” Bevacua said.

NBC Sports Chairman Pete Bevacua (pictured)

NBC Sports Chairman Pete Bevacua (pictured)

Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb covered the Olympics in the mornings on NBC.

Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb covered the Olympics in the mornings on NBC.

“Look at the difference in NFL ratings at 21st and 20th,” he added. “I think one of the main differences is that in 20 we didn’t have passionate NFL fans in those stadiums that added to the atmosphere. We did our best out of necessity. But this year, those fans are back and the ratings have shown it.”

With NBC betting $7.75 billion on the Olympics, where will the games go next?

Here are the hosts of the upcoming Olympics, for which NBC will retain the TV and streaming rights.

2024 Summer Olympics: Paris, France

Winter Olympics 2026: Milan, Italy

2028 Summer Olympics: Los Angeles, USA

Winter Olympics 2030: TBD currently Sapporo, Japan 2010 is hosting Vancouver, Canada and a joint bid led by Barcelona, ​​Spain has expressed interest

2032 Summer Olympics: Brisbane, Australia

Other issues the games faced included concerns about the human rights situation in China and the National Hockey League withdrawing its athletes from the men’s hockey tournament due to COVID-19 concerns.

Thursday’s prime-time games coverage drew 11.09 million viewers on NBC and 13.2 million prime-time viewers across all platforms, down 32 percent from the equivalent PyeongChang 2018 Winter Games night, and it was the smallest decline of the Olympic Games so far.

Officials have blamed the coronavirus pandemic on the lack of spectators at last year’s postponed Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

The network admitted it had seen “disappointing ratings” for the Tokyo Olympics amid backlash against athletes protesting the American flag and national anthem and empty stadiums due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A total of 14.7 million viewers watched the Tokyo games during prime time on July 26, according to Fox News.

The opening ceremony also saw its lowest number of spectators since 1988.

Bevacqua is looking forward to future Olympics being held in high-profile, less-controversial cities like Milan, Paris and Los Angeles for more than just ranking reasons.

“Why I’m full of energy is that I’m thinking about where we’re going, thinking about Paris, Italy and Los Angeles,” he said. “And knock on wood, not only for the Olympics but for all of us, hopefully by then this pandemic is far behind us, we have those spectators who are bursting at the seams again in these venues, we have this passionate family. and friends and athletes without masks hugging each other and celebrating these Olympic achievements.”

Bevacua cited low attendance at the games themselves.

Bevacua cited low attendance at the games themselves.

“It’s no secret that masked athletes, spectatorless venues, so much passion and excitement, those wonderful moments when Olympic athletes hug their family, friends, spouses and partners, so much magic is simply not there by necessity,” Bevacua said.

“It’s no secret that masked athletes, spectatorless venues, so much passion and excitement, those wonderful moments when Olympic athletes hug their family, friends, spouses and partners, so much magic is simply not there by necessity,” Bevacua said.

NBC Sports was hoping the National Hockey League's stars would take part in Saturday's U.S.-Canada men's hockey game before the league retires due to COVID-19.

NBC Sports was hoping the National Hockey League’s stars would take part in Saturday’s U.S.-Canada men’s hockey game before the league retires due to COVID-19.

“We are looking to ensure that this normalized future is getting renewed attention as we get through this pandemic, so we are full of hope,” he added.

In addition to low ratings, the network has been criticized for being too soft on human rights in China during the games.

Senator Marco Rubio has criticized NBC for what he sees as favorable coverage of communist China during the 2022 Winter Olympics, comparing Beijing to the 1936 Olympics in Nazi Germany.

In a Friday op-ed for Fox News, Rubio said the Peacock network draws its arguments straight from Xi Jinping’s Communist Party.

Rubio said that in recent days, NBC has “dutifully repeated the Chinese Communist Party’s theses at every turn.”

“NBC has adopted a ‘both sides’ approach that makes the CCP as reliable as our own government,” wrote the Florida senator.

US Senator Marco Rubio has criticized NBC for what it sees as favorable coverage of communist China during the 2022 Winter Olympics.

US Senator Marco Rubio has criticized NBC for what it sees as favorable coverage of communist China during the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Chinese President Xi Jinping at the opening ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Chinese President Xi Jinping at the opening ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympics.

NBC televised the Beijing games around the clock.

NBC televised the Beijing games around the clock.

Illustration of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics opening ceremony

Illustration of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics opening ceremony

“During the Feb. 4 opening ceremony, NBC analysts labeled first-hand and confirmed reports of human rights abuses in Beijing as “allegations.” Meanwhile, the network made sure to proclaim the Communist Party’s line, reminding viewers that “the Chinese government [says] that the genocide allegations are the lie of the century” and “strives to showcase diversity.”

Rubio also said that NBC downplays China’s “one-child” policy and that the network claims Chinese investment is helping to build economies in third world countries.

The senator compared the situation in Beijing with the situation in 1936 in Germany under Hitler.

“We don’t remember the 1936 Berlin Olympics as an event when the world came together to celebrate national pride and sportsmanship,” Rubio wrote. “Instead, 1936 will be remembered as the year the West failed to resist the massacre of the Nazi regime. We must learn from this mistake.”

With many skeptical about how NBC will handle this, network hosts Mike Tirico and Savannah Guthrie discussed China’s potential minefield where the games are taking place with Bloomberg’s Andy Brown and Yale professor and writer Jing Tsu live during the opening ceremony. .

NBC Sports Olympic host Mike Tirico moderated a discussion on China during the opening ceremony.

NBC Sports Olympic host Mike Tirico moderated a discussion on China during the opening ceremony.

Andy Brown, Editor-in-Chief, Bloomberg New Economy

Andy Brown, Editor-in-Chief, Bloomberg New Economy

Diniger Yilamujian (left) and Zhao Jiawen wave the Olympic torch in the middle of a giant snowflake during the opening ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

Diniger Yilamujian (left) and Zhao Jiawen wave the Olympic torch in the middle of a giant snowflake during the opening ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

The Games are sparking new global controversy as they highlight the host nation’s attitudes towards Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities. Authorities have imprisoned approximately 1 million or more ethnic minorities in mass internment camps over the past few years, most of them Uyghurs, according to researchers.

Human rights groups dubbed them the “Genocide Games” and the US and other countries cited human rights violations by leading a diplomatic boycott of the event.

Brown, while acknowledging that the Chinese government is calling the genocide allegations “the lie of the century,” went live on air about what the country allegedly did to the ethnic minority.

“Western governments and human rights groups allege that the Chinese government is engaging in systematic repression of Muslim Uyghurs,” he said. “They claim this is a massive social engineering program to suppress Muslim Uyghur culture, language, identity… human rights violations, forced labor, birth control. They say it all amounts to cultural genocide.”

Guthrie has been criticized for succumbing to Chinese propaganda after she praised Xi’s decision to have Uighurs lit by the Olympic torch at the opening ceremony.

NBC Today host Savannah Guthrie on Tuesday

NBC Today host Savannah Guthrie on Tuesday

During an NBC telecast, Guthrie called the decision “provocative” and “a direct response to Western countries, including the US, who have called China’s treatment of this group genocide and have diplomatically boycotted these games.”

The Chinese Communist regime chose Zhao Jiawen and Dinigir Yilamujiang, a Uyghur athlete, to light the Olympic flame at the opening ceremony of the Winter Games in an outright propaganda attempt to dismiss claims of genocide against the Muslim minority.

Diniger Yilamujiang, a Uighur skier from the northwestern region of Xinjiang, was one of the Chinese athletes who ignited the flame.

Brown, editorial director of the Bloomberg New Economy Forum, also seems to have succumbed to the move.

“It was a response to President Joe Biden for missing those Olympics and a message to the West: China will not be lectured on human rights or any other issue,” he said of the lighting ceremony.

People on social media were quick to criticize Guthrie for praising the controversial president and promoting his propaganda.

NBC chief admits 'challenging' Olympics as Beijing's first week tumbles to record low since 2018

NBC will try to boost game ratings with the highest rated TV program of the year: The Super Bowl.

Sunday is a sporting stroke for NBC, which broadcasts the Super Bowl in addition to the Winter Olympics.

This is the first time the two events are happening at the same time, and being able to broadcast both of them is one of the reasons NBC switched Super Bowl locations with CBS and picked up the game this year.

The football game is apparently causing some changes to NBC’s Olympic schedule. Instead of regular daytime and primetime coverage, NBC will air from 8 a.m. ET until noon before the Super Bowl game.

Olympic Games coverage will resume again after the game, with NBC planning to air the free dance in ice dancing.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.