There are no athletes from Missouri or Kansas in the Winter Olympics. As far as winter sports playgrounds in Kansas City go, there are a handful of ice skating rinks, Snow Creek ski resort in Weston, the Kansas City Curling Club and Kansas City Mavericks ice hockey, among others.
But even without an abundance of winter sports opportunities, Kansas City viewers have warmed up to the Games from Pyeongchang, South Korea.
The sample size is small, only a few days, but Kansas City ranked fifth among the nation’s top 50 local TV markets over the weekend’s broadcasts on NBC.
With a 23.1 rating for Sunday’s prime-time broadcast, according to Nielsen ratings, Kansas City ranked only behind Salt Lake City (29.5), Denver (24.5), Milwaukee (23.9) and Portland, Ore., (23.6).
There are about 901,000 TV homes in the Kansas City market, which ranks 33rd nationally, and 23.1 percent of them were watching the Olympics.
Figure skating may have played a role in the numbers. The team event, which ended with the United States winning a bronze medal, concluded on Sunday and included several skaters who competed at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships at the Sprint Center in January 2017, including Nathan Chen, Mirai Nagasu and the ice dancing sister and brother team Maia and Alex Shibutani.
“That’s probably a little bit of the driver,” said Lori Osborne, president of the Kansas City Figure Staking Club.
There is also Kansas City’s appetite for the Olympics, winter and summer. Kansas City was the nation’s fifth-ranked market for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, and the No. 14 market for the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.