NBC’s Rio Ratings Swim Closer to London’s but Still Lag Behind

Epic performances from Phelps and Ledecky lead to Rio-high night

Linear viewership for the 2016 Rio Olympics on NBC is significantly up from the first night of competition but remains down from London 2012. The network delivered 33.4 million total viewers in prime time Tuesday night, the largest prime-time audience of this year's games. It's a 16 percent improvement from the previous night but a 14 percent decline from the same night at London in 2012 and down 2 percent from the '08 Beijing Games.

The 11.9 prime-time rating in the 18-49 demo is also a Rio high, up 15.5 percent from the previous night but down from the same night in 2012. Tuesday night's household rating (18.9) is up 15 percent from the previous night but down 13 percent from the same night of the London Games.

Salt Lake City (30.6) was the top metered market for NBC prime time once again, followed by Denver (28.7), Indianapolis (25.6), Minneapolis (25.2) and San Diego (25.2).

It's important to note that while Rio may be down from London in linear viewership, these figures are still massive. Whether they're what the network promised advertisers is a different story.

NBC's new Total Audience Delivery metric calculating average minute viewing across broadcast, cable, and digital averaged a 20.5 household rating with 36.1 million viewers—ranking as the best night of the 2016 Rio Olympics in both metrics. That's still a 7 percent drop from the same Tuesday of the London Olympics.

On NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app, more than 1.3 million unique users streamed the women's gymnastics team final (3-6 p.m. ET)—which featured a dominant U.S. victory—to rank as NBC Olympics' best-ever Summer Games stream.