The ratings for the 2022 Winter Olympics confirmed that the Chinese-hosted games had the smallest audience in the history of the Olympics.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, the ratings on NBCUniversal, the main host of the games, averaged only 11.4 million over the course of the 16-day games. The previous Winter Olympics, held in South Korea in 2018, had an average of 19.8 million viewers, thus marking a 42 percent drop in viewership from four years ago.
The Beijing Olympics also had significantly less viewers than the most recent Olympics event, the Summer Olympics held in Tokyo, Japan in 2020; the Tokyo games averaged about 15.5 million viewers, 26 percent higher than the Beijing games.
Despite the disastrous ratings, NBCUniversal’s Chairman of Television and Streaming, Mark Lazarus, released a statement declaring that “NBCUniversal’s presentation of the Beijing Olympics dominated across all platforms and once again showed that nothing captivates Americans for 18 consecutive days and nights like the Olympic Games.”
The 2022 Winter Olympics were marred with controversy even before the games began, primarily due to the location in the capital city of Communist China. Many critics denounced the decision to let an authoritarian regime like China – guilty of many human rights violations and mass censorship, both within its borders and around the world – host such a prestigious global event. There were widespread calls to boycott the games and its advertisers; the poor ratings seem to confirm that these boycott efforts were largely successful.