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NBC's broadcast of Olympics opening ceremony draws smallest viewership in 33 years

This year's NBC broadcast of the Olympics opening ceremony has only drawn 16.7 million US viewers, which represents a 33-year low record in viewership.

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This year's NBC broadcast of the Olympics opening ceremony has only drawn 16.7 million US viewers, which represents a 33-year low record in viewership.

NBC Universal released the preliminary data on Saturday, showing the precipitous drop in audience members tuning in to watch the opening ceremony, which took place before an almost-empty stadium, as the public was not allowed inside to spectate. At the end, fewer than 1,000 people were allowed in the stadium.

According to Reuters, "The Tokyo opener TV audience declined 37% from 2016, when 26.5 million people watched the Rio de Janeiro Games opener, and 59% from 2012, when 40.7 million people watched the London ceremony."

It should be noted, however, that the initial data reports are subject to change, as the final tabulation and computation of the totals hasn't been performed yet. At the time of publication, the numbers available are statistically-based estimates.

However, and assuming the initial data is reasonably accurate, the Olympics appears to have hit an all-new low for popularity outside of the US as well.

In Tokyo itself, many in the country are strongly opposed to the Olympics continuing through the COVID-19 pandemic. Some even gathered to protest outside the stadium on the day of the opening ceremonies.

The event itself had to be scaled down, as athletes in many cases were required to fly in shortly before their events and leave as soon as possible once they were done competing, per Japan's lockdown regulations.

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