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Skiing Tops Olympic TV Viewership, While Hockey Scores Online
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Skiing Tops Olympic TV Viewership, While Hockey Scores Online

Freestyle skiing, which includes men’s and women’s moguls competition, was the most popular Olympic sport among U.S. TV weekend viewers through February 15, according to a minute-by-minute analysis of viewing conducted by The Nielsen Company. Nielsen reported that during NBC’s primetime broadcast coverage, an average of 26.9 million viewers watched the freestyle events in the first weekend of Olympic competition.

Downhill skiing was the second most popular sport, with an average of 26.7 million viewers watching coverage of the event. Luge coverage earned an average of 26.2 million viewers on NBC through Monday night.

MOST VIEWED OLYMPIC SPORTS(through 2/15/10)
Rank Sport Avg. # of Viewers
1 Freestyle Skiing 26,928,346
2 Downhill Skiing 26,689,344
3 Luge 26,157,455
4 Snowboarding 25,469,008
5 Figure Skating 25,448,801
6 Speed Skating 22,557,252
Source: The Nielsen Company

Skiing might be most popular on TV, but in the blogosphere and in other online forums, the landscape is different. A Nielsen analysis of Internet buzz from February 9th to 18th shows that hockey is the most discussed Olympic sport online. Among all online messages related to winter Olympic sports, more than 30% were linked to hockey. Luge generated the second highest amount of buzz over that time, with almost 18%, followed by figure skating with 10% of Olympics sports buzz.

olympic-buzz-by-sport

Nielsen also found that Sony was the most watched primetime advertised brand, on average, in the first three nights of Olympic events. The company ran one ad that was viewed by 30.7 million people. A spot run by “We are the World’s” Haiti relief effort earned the second most viewers with 29.7 million viewers. Meanwhile, Nike’s advertising was viewed by 28.9 million viewers. On average, commercial brands were viewed by an average of 24.7 million viewers.

A ranking of average audiences for all ads run by each brand during primetime broadcast Olympic coverage through the first three nights of competition is listed below:

Average Prime Commercial Viewership, By Advertiser
Parent Company # of Persons 2+ (000)
SONY CORP 30,702
NEW BRAND PARENT (We Are The World) 29,742
NIKE INC 28,899
LIBERTY MEDIA CORP 28,291
BEST BUY CO INC 27,623
DAIMLER AG 27,504
E TRADE FINANCIAL CORP 27,500
DIRECTV HOLDINGS 27,319
SUN LIFE FINANCIAL INC 27,022
VOLKSWAGEN AG 26,819
NATL AMUSEMENTS INC 26,612
KELLOGG CO 26,400
SEARS HOLDINGS CORP 26,399
MARQUIS JET PARTNERS INC 26,399
COLGATE-PALMOLIVE CO 26,250
TIME WARNER INC 26,159
US GOVERNMENT 26,116
AT&T INC 26,001
MICROSOFT CORP 25,798
AMERICAN COALITION FR CLN CL ELCTRY 25,655
STICHTING ANHEUSER-BUSCH INBEV 25,626
PROCTER & GAMBLE CO 25,605
DOMINOS PIZZA INC 25,581
APPLE INC 25,545
PFIZER INC 25,454
WAL-MART STORES INC 25,429
ALLSTATE CORP 25,203
PROGRESSIVE CORP 25,123
FORD MOTOR CO 25,120
SWATCH GROUP LTD 24,993
PROMO 24,960
AFLAC INC 24,849
HERSHEY CO 24,813
DOCTORS ASSOC INC 24,732
HALLMARKS CARDS INC 24,725
Average 24,717
TARGET CORP 24,677
BMW 24,563
CARNIVAL CORP 24,523
MCDONALDS CORP 24,506
BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB/SANOFI PHRMCTL 24,486
GOODYEAR TIRE & RUBBER CO 24,418
FMR CORP 24,386
GENERAL ELECTRIC CO 24,208
COCA-COLA CO 24,205
HONDA MOTOR CO LTD 24,119
ZALE CORP 24,100
GLAXOSMITHKLINE PLC 23,964
BRITISH COLUMBIA PROVINCE OF 23,959
ASTRAZENECA PLC 23,954
SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS CO LTD 23,699
CHATTEM INC 23,658
KIA MOTORS CORP 23,521
PEPSICO INC 23,309
MACYS INC 23,262
VISA INTL 23,140
SIGNET GROUP PLC 23,092
FENWAY PARTNERS INC 23,024
BANK OF AMERICA CORP 22,801
CONAGRA FOODS INC 22,589
AMERICAN PETROLEUM INST INC 22,475
JOHNSON & JOHNSON 22,225
WALT DISNEY CO 21,531
BAIN CAPITAL LLC 21,323
CH BOEHRINGER SOHN 21,176
INTUIT INC 20,975
TOYOTA MOTOR CORP 20,852
H&R BLOCK INC 20,610
NISSAN MOTOR CO LTD 19,071
Source: The Nielsen Company