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NBA vs. Olympics: A Tale of Two Audiences

The 2018 Winter Olympics may be dominating television at the moment, but of course the Games aren’t the only game in town. To put the scale of the Olympics audience in context, we decided to take a side-by-side look at how the NBA just performed with the All-Star Game from Sunday.

Data from Inscape, the TV measurement company with glass-level data from a panel of more than 7.7 million smart TVs and devices, reveals that overall the Olympics have, on average, garnered more viewership — the broad appeal of the Games and the extensive telecasting by NBC and its sister networks makes that inevitable — but the NBA definitely held its own.

Also of note is the overlap between All-Star viewers and the games — or better said, the lack of overlap: less than half of the people who watched the All-Star game also watched the Olympics (either in other time slots or by timeshifting).

Things get even more interesting when you look at a heatmap of viewership across the U.S. All-Star vs. Olympics viewers are located in very different areas. (The darker the color in our graphic, the more people were tuning in, with the baseline normalized by each state’s population.)