Scott D. Pierce: Olympic TV ratings have been huge in Salt Lake

Published: Friday, Feb. 26 2010 12:00 a.m. MST

We're No. 1!

Or maybe No. 2. Possibly No. 3.

Depending on how the next couple of days go, the Salt Lake television market will be either first, second or third in terms of television ratings for the Vancouver Olympics.

We're running neck-and-neck with Denver and Milwaukee. At press time, we've got the gold, Denver the silver and Milwaukee the bronze. All three are averaging about a 22.5 rating for NBC's prime-time coverage of the Games.

That's a couple of points ahead of fourth-place Seattle. More significantly, it's also about 8 rating points higher than the national average — and that's huge.

(Nationally, a rating point represents 1,149,000 households, or 1 percent of the nation's estimated 114.9 million TV homes. A local rating point is 1 percent of the homes in that market.)

Again, these numbers won't be complete until the Games end, but the local NBC affiliate, KSL-Ch. 5, is averaging about 20 percent higher prime-time ratings than the other local stations combined.

We love our Olympics, don't we?

LIVE VS. TAPED: If you're mad as heck about the fact that we see the vast majority of NBC's Olympic coverage on a tape-delay, those Salt Lake and Denver numbers aren't good.

Three of the top four and five of the top 10 local markets in Games ratings are watching taped coverage.

The Mountain Time Zone is No. 1 and the Pacific is No. 3. Central is No. 2 and Eastern is No. 4, and they're getting it live. (Well, a lot more live than we are.)

There are a lot of reasons for this that have nothing to do with live vs. taped. Utah and Colorado are winter sports states; Seattle is right next to Vancouver; etc.

But what the folks at NBC will take away from this is that it's proof that people don't care if the Olympics are live or taped.


HOCKEY ON MSNBC: Gee, you'd think from all the complaining going on in some quarters that almost nobody could see Sunday's USA-Canada hockey game on MSNBC.

MSNBC is available in 91.6 million homes. That's 80 percent of American homes that have a TV.

If you're in the other 20 percent, you can complain. If not, well, not so much.

FEMALE SKEWING: As is traditionally the case, the Winter Olympics are the only major televised sporting event that attracts more female than male viewers.

According to the Nielsen Co., it isn't even close — 56 percent of the audience is female; 44 percent is male.

By means of comparison, the Super Bowl was 54-46 male.

Other tidbits from Nielsen:

Ratings among viewers 55 and over are 82 percent higher than the national average; ratings among teens are 57 percent lower.

Hispanic and Africa-American ratings are each 74 percent below the national average; Asian-Americans are 15 percent below.

Ratings in homes with HD are 14 percent higher; homes with DVRs are 12 percent higher.

e-mail: pierce@desnews.com

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