Olympic coverage viewership doubles that of other networks

NBC’s Saturday prime-time Winter Olympics coverage averaged 26.7 million viewers, more than double the combined viewership of ABC, CBS and Fox Broadcasting, according to figures released Sunday by The Nielsen Co.

Viewership was up 36 percent from the 19.7 million average for the second Saturday of the 2006 Winter Olympics.

Through nine nights, NBC’s prime-time coverage of the Vancouver Olympics is averaging 26.3 million viewers, which is nearly 6 million, or 28 percent, more than the 20.6 million average viewership of the first nine nights of the 2006 Winter Olympics from Turin, Italy.

The average rating for the first nine nights have been higher in the Pacific and Mountain time zones where the prime-time coverage is being shown on a delayed basis so it can be seen when more people are home, than the Eastern and Central time zones where some of the coverage has been live.

The average rating in the Pacific time zone was 16.4, in the Mountain time zone 19.3, in the Central time zone 16.3 and 15.8 in the Eastern time zone.

The rating in the San Diego market for Saturday’s prime-time coverage was 18.1, the 12th highest in the nation and 23 percent more than the 14.7 national rating. Through nine nights, the prime-time coverage in the San Diego market averaged a 19.2 rating, eighth-highest in the nation and 31 percent more than the national average, which was also 14.7.

The rating is the percentage of television sets turned to a particular program.