NBC’s coverage of the Opening Ceremony for the 2012 London Olympics was the most watched opener ever, with an average of over 40 million Americans tuning in.
This was despite (or due to?) a tape delay that meant that U.S. viewers would see the events unfold hours after they actually happened in London.
Regardless, the 40.7 million average is higher than the 1996 Atlanta games, which had held the previous ratings record with 39.8 million viewers. Beijing 2008 drew 34.9 million viewers, and Athens 2004 drew 25.4 million.