Millennials Devour the Rio Olympic Games

Whether it was streaming Simone Biles or watching Neymar’s game-winning goal, one thing is clear: Millennials love the Olympics.

Whether it was watching Usain Bolt in primetime, streaming Simone Biles on the NBC Sports app, interacting with Michael Phelps on Facebook Live, or watching the highlight of Neymar’s game-winning goal in the men’s soccer final on NBC Olympics’ Snapchat Discover channel, one thing is clear: Millennials love the Olympics.

Video consumption of Rio 2016 by the advertiser-coveted demographic across NBC Olympics’ TV screens, digital platforms, and social media set records, according to research conducted by NBC, Facebook, Snapchat, Google/YouTube, Shareablee, and The Nielsen Company.

The audience for NBC’s primetime Olympics presentation had a far larger proportion of millennial viewers than the 2015-16 primetime TV season. Nearly five times (382% higher) as many Adults 18-34 watched the Rio Olympics in primetime (5.3 rating) than watched on the four broadcast networks (1.1 average rating). That compares favorably to the Olympics advantage over the TV season among Adults 35-49 (+336% Olympics advantage over primetime season) and Adults 50+ (+223%). NBC’s 5.3 rating for P18-34 during the Games was equal to the next 22 networks combined (based on data currently available, through Aug. 18).

"There is no event that aggregates audiences on such a massive scale for so long and across as many platforms as the Olympics, and that includes young people," said Mark Lazarus, Chairman, NBC Sports Group. "Our research shows and the audience consumption proves that Millennials were highly interested, enthusiastic and engaged in the Rio Olympics."

In addition to the nearly 200 million viewers on NBC’s 11 English and Spanish language linear channels carrying coverage of the Rio Games, nearly 50 million viewers streamed 3.4 billion minutes of NBC’s Rio coverage on web, mobile, and connected devices, with more than half of those viewers under the age of 35. And more than two-thirds of the viewers of NBC Olympics’ highlights on Facebook, Snapchat and Google/Youtube were under the age of 35, leading to millions of referrals to NBC’s video coverage across all screens.

"‘Television’ is no longer just a piece of hardware propped up on a table or hanging on a wall. Rather, ‘television’ is now a video stream -- and in the case of the Olympics, a world-class NBC-produced video stream -- delivered to any screen capable of rendering it," said Gary Zenkel, President, NBC Olympics. "America’s Millennial audience is watching television across multiple screens, supplemented and fueled by their social engagement, which in the case of Rio 2016, reached new heights across multiple platforms."

Research conducted for NBC Research during the Games by Shareablee said that Millennials who watched Olympic highlights on social media that day were significantly more likely to watch both NBC’s primetime coverage on television and stream NBC’s digital content that evening.

NBC Olympics’ own social media platforms capitalized on the unique access to venues, athletes, and commentators afforded to the exclusive U.S. media rights holder by producing unique content that generated enough traffic to rank #1 among sports brands and among all brands for digital engagement during the Games.

For more information, please contact:

Chris McCloskey

Tel: 203-356-2781


Dan Masonson

Tel:(203) 356-2790


20 Years at #1: Your best source of news about the Olympics, for subscribers only