UPDATE, 1:13 PM: The first night of competition in the Olympics in London (8:30-11:28 p.m. ET/PT) was the most-watched-ever Summer Games opening night on record, with 28.7 million average viewers. That was more than 2 million higher than the first night of competition from the 1996 Atlanta Games (26.3 million) and nearly 5 million more than the first night of the 2008 Beijing Olympics (24.0 million), and nearly 9 million more than the first night of the 2004 Athens Olympics (19.8 million). NBC’s two-day primetime average of 35.6 million viewers is the best start to a Summer Olympics on record.

London Event Is Most Watched Summer Games Opening Ceremony

Last night’s competition featured the initial duel between Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps and was the best national rating and share for a non-U.S. Summer Olympics opening night in 36 years — since Montreal Olympics. The 15.8/29 national rating and share for the first night of competition was 14% higher than Beijing (13.9/27, which featured live coverage of Phelps’ first of his eight gold medals) and 34% Higher than Athens — the last European Olympics.

PREVIOUSLY, 7:35 AM: On the first night of competition in the London Summer Olympics, NBC on Saturday garnered an 18.0 overnight rating and 33 share (8:30-11:30 p.m. ET/PT), the best ever overnight rating for the first night of competition for a non-U.S. Summer Olympics. That 18.0 rating and 33 share is 8% Higher than Beijing and 22% Higher than Athens, the Last European Olympics.

Last night, which featured Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte facing off in the 400 IM (shown on delay in primetime and live on NBCOlympics.com), is 8% higher than the first night of competition for the opening Saturday night of the 2008 Beijing Olympics (16.6/30), when Michael Phelps won the first of his eight gold medals. The first Saturday night in Beijing was live to the Eastern and Central time zones in the U.S.

Last night’s overnight is 22% higher than the first night of competition at the 2004 Athens Games (14.8/25), the last European Olympics. NBC’s 18.0/33 overnight is the second-highest for the first day of competition of ANY non-U.S. Olympics (Winter or Summer), only eclipsed by the first night of the tabloid-fueled Lillehammer Games (21.0/34) which featured the Opening Ceremony.

London Opening Ceremony posts 14-year high rating for BBC

AVERAGE VIEWERS FOR 1ST NIGHT OF COMPETITION

1. London – 2012 28.7 million NBC
2. Atlanta – 1996 26.3 million NBC
3. Beijing – 2008 24.0 million NBC
4. Seoul – 1988 23.8 million NBC
5. Barcelona – 1992 21.6 million NBC
6. Sydney – 2000 21.0 million NBC
7. Athens – 2004 19.8 million NBC

RATING/SHARE FIRST NIGHT OF COMPETITION FOR NON-U.S. GAMES

1. London – 2012 18.0/33 NBC
2. Seoul – 1988 17.1/32 NBC
3. Beijing – 2008 16.6/30 NBC
4. Barcelona – 1992 16.5/32 NBC
5. Sydney – 2000 18.6/30 CBS
6. Athens – 2004 14.8/24 NBC

OVERNIGHTS FOR FIRST NIGHT OF COMPETITION (U.S. GAMES)

1. Los Angeles – 1984 29.5/55 ABC
2. Atlanta – 1996 19.9/39 NBC
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