NBC's Ratings Defy Expectations These Olympics will be among top 5 TV events By John Johnson, Newser Staff Posted Aug 11, 2012 9:26 AM CDT 25 comments Comments Gabby Douglas performs on the balance beam on Aug. 2. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull) (Newser) – NBC seems to be taking all kinds of grief over its Olympics coverage because of tape delays in the age of live-streaming, so its ratings must surely be suffering, right? Not so much. In fact, these Games "have blown away the most optimistic projections" and will rank among the top 5 television events in history, reports the Los Angeles Times. The network has drawn an average of 32 million viewers in prime time, and more than 210 million people have tuned in to catch at least a portion of the competition. "Social media has really been driving the engagement," says one ad agency exec. "Everyone thought digital platforms would take audience away from television, but what it has done is given us extended engagement and reach." Not that it means huge profits for parent company NBCUniversal. It went into the Games figuring to lose about $200 million, but now expects to break even.