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Sochi Olympics off to good ratings start

Leanne Smith of the United States in action

Leanne Smith of the United States in action during the Alpine Skiing Women's Super Combined Downhill on day 3 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Rosa Khutor Alpine Center on February 10, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. Credit: Getty Images / Doug Pensinger

Do I find it odd that I watched (almost) every minute of Winter Olympics coverage in, say, 1972 and '76, when now that it is my job I have very limited interest (until the hockey tournament starts)?

Well, yes, I do find that odd. But in fairness, no matter what I think - or what mainstream sports talk radio hosts and callers say about how little they care - the Games remain a ratings powerhouse for NBC and its assorted cable and online outposts.

Despite the nine-hour time difference between Sochi and the East Coast of the United States, people are watching.

The first three nights of coverage Minneapolis was the top-rated market; Salt Lake City ranked first for Sunday night.

Nationally the Sunday night coverage averaged 15.7 percent of homes in major markets - 74 percent better than CBS' special on the 50th anniversary of The Beatles' first appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show."

(Don't tell my boss but I watched The Beatles more than The Figure Skaters.)

Through four nights New York ranks 41st out of 56 major markets with a 14.8 average rating, which is pretty darn good in the grand scheme of modern TV ratings.


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