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Utahns love the Olympics: KSL TV medals in Winter Games television coverage

Published: Tuesday, June 30 2015 2:51 a.m. MDT

United States' Julie Chu, right, carries the flag during the closing ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (Darron Cummings, Associated Press) United States' Julie Chu, right, carries the flag during the closing ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (Darron Cummings, Associated Press)

SALT LAKE CITY — KSL came away with a gold and silver medal in terms of its 2014 Winter Olympics coverage.

KSL TV-Channel 5, the local NBC affiliate in the No. 33 television market, had the largest share of viewing audience in the country during the Olympics. KSL achieved a 34 percent share in the Salt Lake City market, ranking first nationally, two percentage points better than second-place Minneapolis (32), the 17th largest market.

Salt Lake City and Minneapolis were followed by Denver (30), Milwaukee (27) and Portland (26) in market share.

KSL took the silver in ratings with a figure of 18.1, which measures television-viewing households. Minneapolis ranked first with 18.7.

"This is what the Olympics does to viewing," said Tanya Vea, KSL's executive vice president of news. "This shows that Utah is an Olympic market. People here love the Olympics. We are a former Olympic city. You see this during the Winter and Summer Games. There is obviously a high interest in the Games. It's a fun event and it really ties into what Utah is all about — the spirit of celebration and community."

Performers line up during the closing ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014, in Sochi, Russia.  (Darron Cummings, Associated Press) Performers line up during the closing ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (Darron Cummings, Associated Press)

During primetime viewing hours, KSL/NBC had a rating of 18.7 and a share of 36, compared to a 3.5 rating and 7 percent share for second-place KSTU-Channel 13, a Fox affiliate.

KSL sent a team of reporters and producers (Dave McCann, Alex Cabrero, Chris Moore and Eric Betts) to Sochi to cover the Games and dedicated a large portion of time to Olympic content.

The KSL-TV morning show brought in a group of five former Olympians to serve as analysts during the Games. They included Trace Worthington (freestyle skiing), Shannon Bahrke Happe (Alpine skiing), Derek Parra (speedskating), Sean Smith (freestyle skiing) and Nikki Stone (freestyle skiing). The analysts commented on the major stories, funny moments and social media trends.

"We went all in and dedicated a significant amount of money into covering the Games. We see it as one of the largest news events that we will cover through the entire year," Vea said. "We were fortunate to have the former Olympians. They added great perspective and behind-the-scenes insight that most people don't know. They genuinely became part of our team over this last month. We kind of fell in love with them and are a little bit sad to see them go.

Norway's Tora Berger shoots during the mixed biathlon relay at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (Lee Jin-man, Associated Press) Norway's Tora Berger shoots during the mixed biathlon relay at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (Lee Jin-man, Associated Press)

"We cover a lot of bad stuff in news and this is one of those times where you just get to cover celebration and triumph, and it's a lot of fun," Vea said.

KSL TV and the Deseret News are both owned by Deseret Management Corporation.

Email: ttoone@deseretnews.com Twitter: tbtoone

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