What's Buzzing:

The Eh Game

Gold medal for Canadian broadcasters: London 2012 opening ceremony sets record with 16.6 million viewers

Don Landry
Eh Game

View photo


Canadians watched the London 2012 opening ceremony in record numbers. (Reuters)

For a brief moment in time, it appeared that NBC executives would have the last laugh. They do not, however, as Canadian television numbers for the London 2012 opening ceremony come in.

Roundly criticized by media experts and the general American viewing public for showing the opening ceremony of the Olympics hours after it actually happened, they were able to trumpet the wisdom of that decision, when it was reported that a record number of Americans watched their telecast on Friday night.

40.7 million people tuned in, the largest American audience for an opening ceremony ever. If they were angry about the delay, seems viewers weren't ready to boycott. Perhaps it was vindication and proof that prime time is the place for such an event, live or not.

Not so fast, though.

If there was the notion that showing the ceremony live, much earlier than prime time, would harm the Canadian broadcast consortium that showed the event in this country, that notion is dead.

An average audience of 6.4 million watched the show and, overall, 16.6 million tuned in at some point, according to a media release from the broadcast consortium. The latter number, of course, is about half of everybody in Canada. Those are records for summer Olympic viewing in Canada, besting the opening ceremony for the 1996 games of Atlanta.

It's worth noting that measurements of audiences are, experts say, much more accurate than they were back in the days of the mid-nineties. Since the advent of a more technologically driven system a few years ago, ratings have been generally much bigger than they were before that system was adopted.

NBC's philosophy of delaying opening night gratification worked perfectly, they say.

"(It) is a great early sign that our strategy of driving people to watch NBC in primetime is working," NBC Sports Chairman Mark Lazarus claimed.

If that is so, and that NBC couldn't care less about prevailing public opinion, then they do score a victory. But I can't think of a business anywhere whose strategies would include not caring what the customer wants.

Additionally, it could be argued that Canada's record audience showing proves that viewers will give you your big eyeball numbers no matter the time of day (at least, if it's a reasonable time of day - Beijing opening ceremonies drew just 1.8 million on average, with a 12 hour time difference in Toronto, 15 hours in Vancouver).

Could American television turn the same trick? Probably. But, I guess we'll never know, as long as networks like NBC are more interested in driving prime time numbers, while protecting the abilities of their affiliates to not pre-empt" The Nate Berkus Show."

Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Hockey
View Comments (1)
  • Grief-stricken Siddle pushes Australia over the line

    Grief-stricken Siddle pushes Australia over the line

    By Ian Ransom ADELAIDE (Reuters) - A 200th wicket and the winning runs were of some comfort for paceman Peter Siddle who was grief-stricken after the death of his grandmother during Australia's victory in the third test against New Zealand. Siddle … More »

    Reuters - 4 minutes 39 seconds ago
  • Review controversy costly for New Zealand, captain says

    Review controversy costly for New Zealand, captain says

    By Ian Ransom ADELAIDE (Reuters) - New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum refused to blame third umpire Nigel Llong's controversial review decision for his team's loss in the third and final test against Australia but said the "frustrating" ruling … More »

    Reuters - 5 minutes ago
  • Costa dropped but Chelsea still toothless in Spurs draw

    Costa dropped but Chelsea still toothless in Spurs draw

    Jose Mourinho dropped his main striker Diego Costa for Chelsea's Premier League visit to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday but the champions still proved toothless up front as they ground out an undistinguished goalless draw at White Hart Lane. Mourinho … More »

    Reuters - 6 minutes ago
  • Tottenham extends unbeaten run by holding Chelsea 0-0

    Tottenham extends unbeaten run by holding Chelsea 0-0

    Tottenham extended its unbeaten Premier League run to 13 matches by drawing 0-0 against a Chelsea side showing signs of recovery but still languishing in the lower half of the standings. Feeling the effects of a long mid-week trip to Azerbaijan for … More »

    AP - Sports - 11 minutes ago
  • Lafita inspires Getafe to beat misfiring Villarreal

    Lafita inspires Getafe to beat misfiring Villarreal

    (Reuters) - Getafe’s Angel Lafita scored one goal and set up another on Sunday in a 2-0 victory over misfiring Villarreal, who now have just one win in seven La Liga matches. Villarreal have lost their way after a bright start to the season and lie … More »

    Reuters - 32 minutes ago