Nearly 35 Million Watched Usain Bolt Dash Into History on NBC

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Sunday’s total audience delivery registers 28.1 million primetime viewers. With 1.86 billion live streaming minutes, NBC Olympics’ Rio 2016 tops the combined total of all prior Olympics by 26 percent.

Usain Bolt’s historic victory in the 100 meters, marking an unprecedented third consecutive gold medal in the event, highlighted a star-studded NBC primetime Sunday telecast which included:


  • Bob Costas’ visit with Bolt in Jamaica

  • Simone Biles winning her third gold medal in Rio (in the vault)

  • Michael Phelps’ in-studio interview with Costas

  • Cris Collinsworth’s candid discussion with 100-meter silver medalist Justin Gatlin

  • Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross winning a thrilling quarterfinal in beach volleyball

  • A feature on 400-meter gold medalist Wayde van Niekerk

  • Allyson Felix-led Team USA qualifying for the women’s 400m final


Viewership for the NBC broadcast peaked at 34.9 million between 9:15-9:30 p.m. ET/PT, as Bolt accomplished his sprint milestone, according to national data from The Nielsen Company.

Sunday’s primetime Rio Olympics coverage posted a Total Audience Delivery average of 28.1 million viewers with a 15.8 household rating.

NBC Olympics’ Total Audience Delivery measures broader Rio Olympics consumption by calculating average minute viewing across broadcast, cable, and digital. The 2016 Rio Olympics is the first in U.S. media history with live primetime Olympic coverage on channels other than the primary broadcast network. It is also the first time that the broadcast network coverage, including primetime, has been streamed simultaneously on digital platforms.

Last night’s NBC-only Rio Olympics coverage (7-11 p.m. ET/PT) averaged 26.7 million viewers and posted a 14.9/27 household rating. Also in primetime on Sunday, NBCSN’s live Olympic competition coverage averaged 1.02 million viewers, while Bravo’s live coverage of Andy Murray’s victory in the men’s tennis gold-medal match (7-8:30 p.m.) averaged 929,000 viewers.

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