The faltering performance of 15-year-old Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva in Thursday night’s long-form routine drew an audience of 10.3 million to NBCUniversal’s Olympic television and digital broadcasts, according to network figures.
The U.S. primetime replay of the skating competition brought in 1.4 million more viewers than the previous night’s Olympics coverage, NBC said.
Valieva, the gold medal favourite in the spotlight after testing positive for a heart drug, made mistakes on her first four jumps and burst into tears at the conclusion of her routine.
She finished in fourth place, behind two of her compatriots, Anna Shcherbakova and Alexandra Trusova, who took gold and silver, respectively.
NBC’s nightly broadcasts of the Winter Games have been averaging 12 million people, according to the network’s total audience delivery metric, which combines viewership on traditional television, cell phones, tablets and Internet-connected TVs.
Sunday night’s competition drew the largest audience so far for NBC’s coverage from Beijing, attracting 24 million viewers the largest NBC Olympics primetime audience since the opening of the 2018 Winter Games, NBC said.
The broadcast followed the Comcast-owned network’s Super Bowl telecast, which measurement firm Nielsen said attracted 99 million viewers.
NBC’s coverage of the Olympics opening ceremony averaged close to 14 million television viewers, according to NBC. Across all platforms, including USA Network, the NBC Sports app and the Peacock streaming service, the audience reached nearly 16 million people.