Winter Olympics: Women's Gold-Medal Game Draws 4.9M Watchers

Scoring huge on the streaming side, NBC’s coverage of the thrilling gold medal women’s hockey game from Sochi netted just under 5 million linear watchers on Thursday afternoon.

According to Nielsen live + same-day fast national data, NBC’s presentation of  Canada’s 3-2 triumph over the U.S., secured by Marie Philip Poulin’s goal in overtime, averaged 4.9 million from noon-3:30 p.m. (ET)/9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (PT). That ranked as the most-watched hockey game in this nation, outside of Stanley Cup Finals action, since the North American rivals met in the gold medal men’s game at the Vancouver Games in 2010 with the same overtime score and outcome.

The Feb. 20 telecast nearly doubled the 2.5 million viewers for the last women’s gold medal game, also a U.S.-Canada matchup at the 2010 Olympics, which aired live on MSNBC from 6 p.m.-9:15 p.m. ET.

(Additionally, the Team USA-Canada game is the most-watched women’s gold medal game since the final between the same two countries at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games, which was aired during NBC’s live primetime show that included American Sarah Hughes’ surprising gold medal win in women’s figure skating.)

NBCSN posted 1.2 million viewers for Thursday from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. ET coverage -- up 32% from 910,000 for the comparable Thursday of the 2012 London Games (there was no London coverage prior to 8 a.m.).  In 13 days of live Sochi Games coverage, NBCSN has posted the nine most-watched weekday daytimes (6 a.m.-3 p.m.) in NBCSN history and the four most-watched weekend daytimes over the same nine-hour span in the network’s history.

NBC’s curated  primetime coverage, highlighted by the women’s figure skatiing final won by Russian Adelina Sotnikova, averaged 20.3 million viewers and a 12.2 household rating/20 share from 8 p.m. to 11:19 p.m.  That was down from comparable second Thursdays of the past two Winter Olympics: Vancouver scored with 22.9 million viewers with a 13.6 household rating/23 share, while the Torino Games in 2006 posted 25.7 million viewers and a 15.8 household rating/24 share.