While NBC's primetime network coverage has been the major media story of the Games so far, NBC's conglomerate of cable networks are doing quite well for themselves in the early stages of London 2012.  Primetime network ratings have been up versus Beijing, and the same is true for NBC's cable networks.  And yes, those cable networks are actually showing some events live.  In particular has been the success of NBC Sports Network, who has (unsurprisingly) seen the best period in its first year of existence.  From NBC…

NBC Sports Network’s coverage of the London Olympics set viewership records this past weekend with the two most-watched days in its history, bolstered by coverage of Team USA’s women’s soccer vs. Columbia on Saturday afternoon, rowing coverage Saturday night, and Team USA Basketball vs. France on Sunday. NBC Sports Network is airing nearly 300 hours of coverage, the most-ever for an Olympics network (cable or broadcast).

Sunday’s average viewership of 1.204 million (4 a.m.-7:06 p.m. ET) marked NBC Sports Network’s highest average viewership ever in this daypart and 10% above Saturday’s Olympic coverage (1.093 million, 4 a.m. – 8 p.m. ET).

In addition to the high ratings at NBCSN, MSNBC is up well over 40% compared to Beijing.  CNBC is up 24% versus Beijing and Bravo did their best weekend rating period since 2007.  While those are impressive numbers, there is one potential caveat.  The 12 hour Beijing time difference meant afternoon time slots on the cable networks were replays as it was the middle of the night in Beijing.  However, NBC can hang their hat on being up an impressive 163% versus Athens 2004 in the MSNBC afternoon slot.

The thirst for Olympic coverage has never been greater, but the NBC Sports Group will soon leave MSNBC, CNBC, and Bravo.  Those networks will go back to their regularly scheduled programming of left-leaning politics, business, and seven real housewives shows.  NBC Sports Network will go back to sports.  Just how many Olympics sports viewers stay with NBC Sports Network come August 13th will be the truly important number of these Games.

About Matt Yoder

Award winning sportswriter at The Comeback and Awful Announcing. The biggest cat in the whole wide world.