Top Rated 2012 Olympic Broadcasts

CTV released their final 2012 Olympic ratings this afternoon. I’m not going to bother debating their coverage anymore, simply because it’s over. I don’t care anymore. The next potential chance for CTV to show an Olympics isn’t until 2018. That’s a long way off. The numbers are fairly staggering. An average of 7.5 million Canadians (5.1 million watched it live on CTV alone) watched the closing ceremony last night. Not only does that make it the highest rated closing ceremony ever, but the highest rated Summer Olympic broadcast too. A combined audience of 2.419 watched the Beijing Closing Ceremony (live and encore) on CBC and CBC Newsworld in 2008.

Here is a comparison of 2004, 2008 and 2012 for Morning, Overnight (which was live in 2008) and Primetime coverage, as well as the Ceremonies. Note that CBC didn’t have Daytime coverage in 2008, so I’ve chosen not to include it.

Olympic Morning (CTV/CBC)
Athens 2004: 322, 000
Beijing 2008: 675, 000
London 2012: 922, 000*

Note: London 2012 only only days 1-9, which is all that’s available at the time.

Olympic Primetime (CTV/CBC)
Sydney 2000: 1.255 million
Athens 2004: 1.1 million
Beijing 2008: 1.294 million
London 2012: 1.967 million*

*Note: London 2012 only includes days 1-9, which is all that’s available at the time.

Olympic Primetime (TOTAL)
Beijing 2008: 1.434 million
London 2012: 2.8 million*

*Note: London 2012 only includes through day 13. The last two full days of competition are not available. 2008 includes CBC and TSN broadcasts (and not RDS or Radio-Canada), while 2012 includes all networks involved in the consortium.

Olympic Overnight (CTV/CBC)
Athens 2004: 212, 000
Beijing 2008: 544, 000
London 2012: 429, 000*

*Note: London 2012 only includes days 1-9, which is all that’s available at the time.

Opening Ceremony (live broadcast only)
Atlanta 1996: 4.3 million
Athens 2004: 1.4 million
Beijing 2008: 1.6 million
London 2012: 6.4 million

Closing Ceremony (live broadcast only)
Beijing 2008: 933, 000
London 2012: 5.1 million

(Credit to Chris Zelkovich for past CBC ratings)

Of course, it is worth remembering that sports ratings have trended higher since BBM Canada introduced portable-people-metres as their measurement system in 2010.

A couple more numbers to think about. The peak minute audience for CBC in 2008 was 2.574 million, for Simon Whitfield’s silver medal performance in triathlon. The 2012 opening ceremony peaked at 8.1 million viewers. CBC averaged around 300, 000 streams per day in 2008. cracked the million mark consistently, which shows the direction sports broadcasting is headed.

Here are the ten most watched 2012 Olympic events on CTV. Following the break, you can find many more ratings I’ve compiled over the past two weeks.

1. Athletics, men’s 100m final (CTV, V, RDS) – 6.2 million
2. Women’s Soccer, Canada v. USA (CTV, TSN, V) – 3.8 million
3. Athletics, men’s 1500m semifinal (CTV, V) – 3.1 million
4. Swimming, women’s 50m freestyle final (CTV, RDS) – 3.0 million
5. Athletics, women’s 400m hurdles, round 1 (CTV, V) – 3.0 million
6. Swimming, men’s 4x100m medley final (CTV, RDS) – 2.9 million
7. Swimming, men’s 1500m final (CTV, RDS) – 2.8 million
8. Athletics, men’s 200m final (CTV, V, RDS) – 2.7 million
9. Women’s beach volleyball, CZE-USA (CTV) – 2.6 million
10. Cycling, men’s omnium 15km (CTV, RDS) – 2.5 million

Here are average audiences for select Olympic broadcasts in Canada.

Preview Show, July 27, CTV/TSN/SN/RDS/V – 1.6 million
Opening Ceremony (live), July 27, CTV/TSN/SN/RDS/V – 6.4 million
Opening Ceremony (encore), July 27, CTV/TSN2/SN/V – 3 million
Closing Ceremony, Aug 12, CTV/TSN/SN/RDS/V – 7.5 million

Women’s 100m Semis, Aug 4, SN – 417, 000
Men’s 100m Final, Aug 5, CTV/RDS/V – 6.2 million
Men’s 200m Final, Aug 9, CTV/V/RDS – 2.7 million
Men’s Decathlon 1500m, Aug 9, CTV/V/RDS – 2.2 million

Women’s Doubles Semi, Aug 2, TSN – 669, 000

Men: CAN-GB, July 28, TSN/V – 1.056 million
Women: CAN-GB, July 29, RDS – 385, 000
Women: CAN-RUS, July 31, V – 350, 000

Mary Spencer QF, Aug 6, CTV/SN – 2.2 million
Custio Clayton QF, Aug 7, SN – 525, 000

Women’s Team Pursuit, Aug 4, CTV – 2.2 million

Women’s 3m Synchro, July 29, RDS – 284, 000
Women’s 10m Synchro, July 31, RDS – 305, 000
Men’s 3m Synchro, Aug 1, RDS – 513, 000
Women’s 3m, Aug 5, RDS – 446, 000
Men’s 3m Prelims, Aug 6, V – 392, 000
Men’s 3m, Aug 7, RDS – 364, 000
Women’s 10m Prelims, Aug 8, V – 252, 000

Valois-Fortier Bronze, July 31, RDS – 318, 000

Women’s Team Final, July 31, CTV/RDS – 2 million
Women’s Trampoline, Aug 4, CTV/V – 2.1 million

CAN-JPN, July 25, TSN/SN/RDS – 383, 000
CAN-SWE, July 31, SN – 341, 000
CAN-GBR, Aug 3, TSN – 841, 000
CAN-USA, Aug 6, CTV/TSN/V – 3.8 million
CAN-FRA, Aug 9, CTV/RDS – 1.6 million
USA-JPN, Aug 9, TSN – 534, 000

Semis/Finals, July 29, CTV/RDS – 2.2 million
Men’s 100m Free, Aug 1, RDS – 272, 000
Men’s 1500m Free, Aug 4, CTV/RDS – 2.8 million
Men’s 4×100 Medley, Aug 4, CTV/RDS – 2.9 million

Duet Qualifying, Aug 6, V – 534, 000
Duet Final, Aug 7, RDS – 272, 000

Women’s 53kg, July 29, SN – 554, 000
Men’s 56kg, July 29, CTV – 2 million

Dugrenier bronze fight, Aug 8, V – 265, 000

15 thoughts on “Top Rated 2012 Olympic Broadcasts

  1. What was Canada’s best Summer Olympics? Now, anyone that gives this any thought knows that you cannot award this merely to Canada’s best medal (or gold medal) total. You must consider two things: 1. The number of events, and 2. The level of competition. These are easy factors for which to correct, for there is one relative constant across all Summer Olympics in history (except 1980): the performance of the United States. For each Summer Olympics, I divided Canada’s gold medal total by the U.S. gold medal total, divided Canada’s total medals by U.S total medals, and added the results. Canada’s best Summer Olympics was 1908, followed by 1928, 1984, and 1992. Their worst, by far, was 1960, when they managed only one medal, a silver. All Olympics in the 2000’s were in the top ten, although they all generated many complaints about Canada’s performance. You want to complain? World War 2 to 1984, now that was truly dismal.

    • That’s actually really interesting. A great way to compare every Olympics for Canada. The most amazing thing is the US medal totals are relatively consistent after Los Angeles (ranging from 94-104).

    • In what way is the performance of the U.S. a relative constant?

      • As I mentioned, the US has won relatively the same number of medals since 1988. I’m not sure its always been a constant though.

        A better way to calculating would be number of medal events divided by number of Canadian medals.

        • But even if USA had always won exactly the same number of medals in every Games since 1896, it wouldn’t account for the fact more medals are awarded now and more countries participate. Your way would be better, I agree.

          Another interesting thing I found out much to my suprise is that Canada does its medal tallies differently than most everyone else in the world. It was highly touted in the press that we came 13th. But if you look on the official Olympics webpage or on Wikipedia, you’ll see we’re ranked 36th.

          • We do it the same way as America. I first came to realize this in 2008 when American media reported that the US topped the medal table (with most total medals), while international outlets like the BBC reported that China topped the medal table (with most golds). I prefer the international way of doing it. By that, Canada was tops at Vancouver 2010 as well. I noticed CTV conveniently change the way they calculated the medals towards the end of the Vancouver Olympics, saying things like “But Canada is a-top the gold medal table”

            • I don’t think we should do something just because America does. America is one of the only countries left in the world that hasn’t adopted the metric system for example. It makes more sense to do it the way it’s done officially to avoid confusion. The IOC does it the “international” way, so we should follow suit.

  2. I know I’ll probably get some thumbs down for this, but everyone is way too hard on the “I Believe” song. Yes, it does get a bit annoying when you hear it (too) many times over a 17-day period, but what song doesn’t? In my opinion, “I Believe” is actually a pretty fitting song for Canada at the Olympics. Personally, when a Canadian athlete wins a medal I look forward to seeing a music video of the athlete’s victory accompanied by “I Believe”. To me, the song just has a certain feel to it. It’s touching. I remember directly after Joannie Rochette received her bronze medal in Figure Skating at Vancouver 2010, a montage with “I Believe” was played. One of the most emotional moments for any Canadian. It probably won’t have the same effect now, but here’s the link to it:

  3. The song was fine for 2010, it fit what CTV wanted for Vancouver. For London, well it did not fit and should have been left to the history books for that special time that was Vancouver. Now it just another annoying song.

    • I agree with this. I would be fine with never hearing it again during the Olympics. It was very fitting for Vancouver, but it became less fitting for London.

  4. Did Brian Williams leave CBC before it was announced that CTV had the Vancouver Olympics? Also was it ever said why he left? Or at least what the rumours were that he left?

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