Date: 22nd September 2000

NBC May Take Home The Bronze

Although it continued to outdraw its competition, NBC's coverage of the Sydney Olympics again produced disappointing ratings for the network Wednesday night.

The 8:00 p.m. hour produced a 14.2 rating and a 23 share; the 9:00 p.m. hour, a 17.3/27; the 10:00 p.m. hour, a 17.9/29. The figures were 35 percent lower than those for the comparable day in Atlanta in 1996 and 23 percent lower than those for the comparable day in Barcelona in 1992. The ratings plunge has dismayed NBC execs and advertising execs alike.

Nike spokesman Scott Reames told today's (Thursday) Wall Street Journal that his company is concerned about the lower ratings for two reasons: "One, it means a reduced interest in the games. And for a company that is in the sports and fitness business, that itself is troubling. Secondly, we are concerned from a purely financial standpoint, that we have spent a certain amount of money to reach a certain amount of viewers."

The lower ratings have forced the network to renege on its vow to present no more than nine minutes of ads during any hour of the telecast; it added an additional minute Tuesday night.

Source: Studio Briefing