NBC experienced such a dramatic drop-off in viewers for the “woke” Tokyo Olympic Games that the network has decided to grant advertisers additional spots to make up for it, according to reports Sunday.
The network admitted to “underwhelming ratings” amid advertiser concerns after a number of factors, including so-called “woke” anti-American demonstrations, are being blamed for some of the lowest viewership since 1988.
NBC’s numbers were down from the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and the 2013 summer Games in London, reports noted.
“NBC’s primetime coverage of the Tokyo Olympics on July 26 averaged 14.7 million viewers — for a 49% drop compared to the equivalent night from the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games and 53% less than the 2012 London Olympics,” Fox News reported.
“The opening ceremonies saw their lowest viewership since 1988,” the outlet added.
In addition to the politics, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, empty event venues, and other factors are also believed to have contributed to overall lower viewership.
“The Olympic spirit is a bit dampened this year,” Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute in New Jersey, told Fox News.
“The delay from last year and lack of spectators have taken the edge off the typical anticipation and excitement for this event. But the emergence of Black Lives Matter in the sports world has also led to a backlash among some Americans,” Murray added.
The Daily Mail noted further that several athletes, many from the U.S., engaged in protests by kneeling or engaging in demonstrations during the playing of the National Anthem.
But not all U.S. athletes behaved that way. In fact, some engaged in distinct acts of pride after their victories.
One of them, Tamyra Mensah-Stock, wrapped herself in the American flag after becoming the first black U.S. Olympic female wrestler to win a gold medal.
“I love representing the U.S., I freaking love living here,” she exclaimed.
And NBA great Kevin Durant told one American media critic who came down on the U.S. Men’s Basketball squad after some early losses in trials to “act like you’re American.”
“But images of other athletes protesting the flag and the anthem haven’t helped bring back alienated viewers,” Fox News added, noting that more than half of Republicans who said they were never interested in watching the games said so because of what they viewed as anti-American political statements and protests.
The same number of Democrats, meanwhile, blamed the pandemic and small crowd sizes as well as less competition.
“The people we sent over aren’t representing the country,” said a Maryland man, identified as an independent in his 40s, told the pollsters. “They’re kneeling at the flag.”
“I don’t want to see virtue signaling,” a 45-year-old New Jersey woman, who also identified as an independent, said. “Be a proud American.”
Advertisers were also upset at the steep decline in viewership, leading NBC to offer additional advertising spots to them.
“When you look at the numbers, it’s hard to be pleased with them,” noted Andy Billings, director of the sports communications program at the University of Alabama, according to the AP.
“It’s probably NBC’s worst-case scenario, but it’s probably a worst-case scenario that they would have been able to predict months ago.”