Tokyo Olympics opener plunges to 33-year low in viewership, panned by Critics

The Tokyo Olympics opener drew 16.7mn US TV viewers, a 33-year low.

Nikkei Asia reported:

NBC’s broadcast of the Tokyo Olympic Games opening ceremony drew 16.7 million viewers, the smallest U.S. television audience for the event in the past 33 years, according to preliminary data from Comcast-owned NBCUniversal on Saturday.

Across all platforms, including and the NBC Sports app, 17 million people watched the ceremony, NBCUniversal said in an email.

The report adds that “Friday’s audience reflects a steep drop, despite difficult comparisons with previous opening ceremonies when viewers had fewer streaming options.”

In addition, many media outlets trashed the opener.

The Atlantic wrote “The proceedings nevertheless kicked off today with a mournful mishmash of a ceremony that only emphasized its dark context,” labeling the ceremony as “haunting” and “ambivalent.”

The NY Times wrote the idea was to “divert the message of the Games away from the pandemic and scandals and toward the more anodyne themes of peace and global harmony.”

“But that messaging may have little resonance with the Japanese public, as coronavirus infections in Tokyo have risen to a six-month high and the domestic vaccine rollout has proceeded slowly,” the report adds.

Deadline also wrote a scathing review, asking “Ever imagine what it would be like if they held an Olympics and almost nobody came?”

Then answering “Well, with Japanese-born tennis superstar Naomi Osaka holding the flame and lighting the cauldron, today’s opening ceremony of the coronavirus hobbled Games of the XXXII Olympiad live from the island nation provided an answer to that query — and it was ultimately neither engaging nor enjoyable.”