This post originally appeared on Forbes.com on August 16, 2012
USA Basketball assembled its strongest men’s and women’s teams for the 2012 London Olympics with one goal in mind – bring home the gold.
The anticipation of the WNBA superstars, Candace Parker, Diana Taurasi, and Tamika Catchings, competing for a record fifth consecutive gold medal and NBA all-stars, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and LeBron James, playing on one unified team did not disappoint basketball fans.
While NBC Sports received intense criticism for its decision to tape delay many Olympic sporting events including track and field, swimming, and gymnastics, the network managed to broadcast a number of men’s and women’s basketball games live. Ultimately, this decision worked in NBC’s favor as both the men’s and women’s basketball teams earned high television ratings for the network.
Here’s how USA Women’s and Men’s Basketball 2012 London Olympics ratings stack up as reported by the NBA and WNBA…
The USA Women’s Basketball Gold Medal game against France averaged 10.2 million viewers, up +73% versus the 2008 Women’s Gold Medal game on NBC (5.9 million viewers). The three USA women’s games broadcasted on NBC averaged more than 10 million viewers.
The women’s team also performed strong for NBC Sports Network. The five games on the network averaged 1.24 million viewers per game, +26% higher than the team’s average on USA Network in 2008.
The USA Men’s Basketball gold medal game against Spain averaged 12.5 million viewers and an 8.2 household rating, making it the most viewed and highest rated men’s basketball gold medal telecast since 2000. The game more than doubled the average viewership for the men’s basketball gold medal telecast in Beijing (6.0 million viewers).
On NBC Sports Network, the six USA Men’s Basketball games averaged more than 2.6 million viewers, up 81% versus the four game average on USA Network in 2008, including a high of 3.3 million viewers for the game against Argentina.
The viewership momentum established during the 2012 London Olympics will more than likely carry into the WNBA’s and NBA’s 2012 regular seasons. The NBA is set to tip-off on November 1st with its first full season since the lockout.
Meanwhile, the WNBA was in the midst of its 16th season when the league took an extended break allowing players and coaches to participate in the Olympic Games. The 2012 WNBA season resumes today, and in celebration of the historic 41-game Olympic winning streak the league will run a special promotion produced by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners featuring the 12 gold medal Olympians.
“The WNBA is very excited to welcome our athletes back from London,” said WNBA President Laurel J. Richie. “This spot celebrates their historic achievement and sets the stage for the intense competition we will see in the second half of the 2012 season.”
Watch the spot here or look for it on NBA TV and ESPN2, as well as NBA and WNBA digital media channels.