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NBC is having its best ratings since it telecast the Salt Lake Winter Olympics more than a decade ago and Utah viewers are doing more than their share to help.
As they have since the year 2000, viewers in the Salt Lake television market are leading the nation in Olympic viewing.
The network just hit a 10-year high in the ratings, averaging 32.2 million viewers from July 30-Aug. 5. That's the best week NBC has had since 2002, when it averaged 32.8 million viewers during the Salt Lake Games.
"The London numbers are great," said Adam Friefeld, vice president of communications for the NBC Sports Group. "And we know we can count on Salt Lake viewers to watch."
Local viewers have made the Salt Lake market, which includes all of Utah, as well as parts of Idaho, Wyoming and Nevada, No. 1 for the seventh consecutive Olympics. And it isn't even close.
Through Tuesday, NBC's primetime Olympic coverage on KSL-Channel 5 has averaged a 26.4 rating and a 47 share, meaning that 26.4 percent of the 927,540 TV-equipped homes in the market and 47 percent of those where the TV is in use are tuned to the Games.
The ratings represent incredible numbers in an age of hundreds of TV channels.
Salt Lake market ratings are way ahead of No. 2, Kansas City's 24.3/40.
It's such a big lead it's pretty much a done deal that SLC will remain No. 1 through the end of the Games on Sunday. And it's almost a third higher than NBC's national average of an 18.5 rating for the highest-rated non-U.S. Summer Olympics since Montreal in 1976.
NBC Sports Chairman Mark Lazarus termed the numbers a "very pleasant surprise."
Local viewers first topped the charts in 2000 perhaps in anticipation of the Games coming to Utah in 2002 and have remained there.
Here are ratings/share for the TV markets with the highest viewership for the first 12 days through Tuesday, Aug. 7 of the London Olympic Games.
Salt Lake City • 26.45/47*
Kansas City • 24.3/40
Milwaukee • 24.2/40
Denver • 23.9/45
Columbus, Ohio • 23.2/38
Norfolk, Va. • 23.1/36
Indianapolis • 22.5/38
San Diego • 22.3/39
Richmond, Va. • 22.0/35
West Palm Beach, Fla. • 21.9/36
*NBC's primetime Olympic coverage on KSL-Channel 5 has averaged a 26.4 rating and a 47 share, meaning that 26.4 percent of the 927,540 TV-equipped homes in the market and 47 percent of those where the TV is in use are tuned to the Games.
SLC's ongoing Olympic love
NBC's ratings were best in Salt Lake City for Sydney 2000 • 1.4 rating points over No. 2
Salt Lake 2002 • 11.8 points over No. 2
Athens 2004 • 4.2 points over No. 2
Torino 2006 • 2.7 points over No. 2
Beijing 2008 • tied with Denver
Vancouver 2010 • 0.6 points over No. 2