The overly-hyped opening ceremonies for the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea were met with a yawn and shrug by most American viewers last week, with the flagship program showing a stunning 12% plunge from the start of the international competition in Russia four years ago.
According to Deadline Hollywood, the pre-recorded ceremony posted a sharp decline in television viewership, snagging just 27 million viewers in the US as the world set its sights on the Korean peninsula.
The data makes the PyeongChang event the eleventh-most watched Opening Ceremony not held in the United States.
“Despite thousands of performances, a distinct injection of imagination and that always trivia filled Parade of Nations, and coming off a less than gold initial and unofficial first day, NBC also came up short in the ratings, again,” writes Deadline. “Nowhere near even a bronze medal, that’s down 9% from what the February 7, 2014 Opening Ceremony of the XXII Winter Olympics from Sochi delivered in the early numbers.”
Industry experts blame the drop on growing “geopolitical tensions” that possibly tainted the international competition.
The event turned political within minutes of the broadcast, with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s sister sitting just inches from Vice President Mike Pence.