NBC, CTV score big with Winter Olympics Opener

A week ago, a 27- year record fell when Super Bowl XLIV between the New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts drew more than 106 million viewers, marking it as the most-watched television event ever in the United States.

Now its Canada’s turn.

Friday’s Opening Ceremonies for the Winter Olympics drew the largest audience ever for a television event in Canada.

The 13.3 million who watched all or part of the Opening Ceremonies in Vancouver broke the record set at the 2002 Salt Lake City games when Canada defeated the U.S. in the gold-medal hockey game, which aired on former rights holder CBC.

The Olympic games are being carried by CTV and its owned-cable properties (all-sports TSN, French-language sports cabler RDS, and OLN, among others.) Some Olympic events are alos being carried by regional sports cabler Rogers SportsNet.

Meanwhile in the U.S. , NBC scored Friday night with its coverage of the Opening Ceremonies, drawing 67 million viewers between 7:00 p.m. and 11:15 p.m., Central Time.

Among the largest markets, Seattle (which is about 100 miles south of Vancouver) came on top Friday with the largest ratings, despite being time-delayed for the Pacific Time Zone (in Canada, the Olympics are being shown “live” in all time zones, coast to coast.) Milwaukee was second, with Denver third.

Chicago tied with Buffalo for 20th place, with a 20.1 household rating and 33 share.

CTV is celebrating its 50th anniversary this fall, launching as Canada’s first privately-owned broadcast network in 1961. What was the top-rated show on CTV’s first season? Believe it or not, it was The Andy Griffith Show.