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Will The Winter Olympics Bounce Back in 2026?

After the COVID-19 pandemic caused the 2020 summer Olympic games to be postponed lots of people were left disgruntled and anxious for a new starting date. Now, the 2022 winter Olympics have begun, on time, and have been going since the beginning of February. So why is nobody watching?

Viewership for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics is currently tanking, nearing an all-time low for the winter Olympics. Compared to 2018’s PyeongChang Olympic games, NBC is reporting a 50% decrease in total audience.

While the public might be shocked by that statistic, NBC executives were clearly ready for such ratings. NBC was expecting a 40% decrease in viewership; To avoid harsh losses, NBC cut its advertising prices and gave companies longer timeslots to promote revenue.

A broadcast during the beginning of the winter Olympics saw only 8 million viewers, the lowest number of viewers during a primetime slot in Olympics history. However, each night of the winter games has seen an increase in primetime viewers for the first time ever.

Adding on to the reasons why the 2022 Beijing Olympics are struggling, there’s no NHL players. Hockey is one of the top 5 winter Olympic sports, and the greatest hockey players in the world are not participating. While the hockey played in this year’s winter games may have been entertaining, there is a disconnect between the fans and the players, because the fans do not know who they are cheering for.

The winter games will greatly benefit from a 4-year break to regroup before it heads to Milan, Italy in 2026. The Beijing 2022 games seem distant and strangely irrelevant, partially because of the drastic time change, but primarily due to the strict COVID-19 regulations in China and the human rights controversies surrounding the Chinese government.

(Image courtesy of Getty Images)

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