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The Real Reason People Aren't Watching the Olympics

By Stephen Douglas
Speed Skating - Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics Day 4
Speed Skating - Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics Day 4 / Amin Mohammad Jamali/GettyImages
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The 2022 Winter Olympics on NBC are experiencing very poor ratings. There are many theories explaining this, from boycotting China to the time difference to the fact that the games have simply been a dud. One thing people aren't considering is that viewers might just be busy with their children.

From everything I've read, experts have completely missed is maybe sports fans just had a baby like a month ago and it's a lot of hard work. Constant feedings, dirty diapers, crying. It feels like it's never going to end and honestly it doesn't make sitting in front of the television to watch eight hours of curling a reality right now.

Now, you're probably thinking, if viewers are up all night with a newborn, then surely they can turn on the Olympics and watch the games live. That's a nice idea, but maybe viewers are instead using that time to catch up on stuff like Mythic Quest and Search Party and The Leftovers. You know, stuff that potential Olympics viewers might have missed the first time around because they didn't have Apple TV or had no idea the show survived multiple seasons on TBS before moving to HBO or just found The Leftovers too depressing the first time they tried to watch. Neilsen doesn't account for any of that.

So why aren't potential viewers watching the Games during the day? If they're on parental leave they don't have to go to work. That's prime time to watch the tape-delay Games. Except their other kids take control of the television during the day. Yeah, it would be nice to catch up on the women's hockey games and luge highlights, but the real battle is keeping Bluey and Encanto on television instead of Octonauts or WALL-E for the millionth time. It's a good movie but they don't even sing!

As you can see, it's tough. No one forced viewers to have three children in five years, but this is our reality now. Not watching the Olympics and ruining NBC's precious ratings is the consequence of those decisions.

Perhaps by 2026 when the Games are in Italy and there's only a six-hour time difference things will be better. Maybe viewers can convince their kids to sit still for three g-d damn seconds and enjoy Johnny Weir's outfits. Maybe by then we'll have a Peacock login. Who knows, but for now at least we know the real reason people aren't watching the Olympics.

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