Olympics-Surf, skating increases audience as ratings suffer


By Mari Saito

TOKYO (Reuters) – New events such as surfing and skateboarding that debuted at the Tokyo Olympics have increased audiences for the Games, especially in Brazil, the International Olympic Committee said on Tuesday, downplaying any impact from the lack of spectators.

The bullish projections presented by the sports body on Tuesday contrasted with the first valuation data https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/sports/why-tv-audiences-are-tuning-out-tokyo-olympic-games- 2021-07-30, indicating that the Tokyo Games are currently the least watched Olympics in recent history in Europe and the United States.

In the United States, the largest market for the Olympics where NBCUniversal broadcasts events, the opening ceremony drew 16.9 million American viewers https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/sports/tokyo- olympics-opening- drew-167-mln-tv-viewers-nbcuniversal-2021-07-24, the smallest audience for the event in the past 33 years.

On Tuesday, Timo Lumme, director general of television and marketing services at the IOC, said audiences would come to watch the Games by the “millions” in the United States, with a prime-time average for Olympic programs of around. 17 million American viewers. each night.

Lumme said he expected slightly more people to watch Tokyo’s opening ceremony than Rio’s in 2016, with the total number of global TV audiences expected to climb to around 600 million.

In China, large numbers of viewers watched the men’s 100-meter and table tennis singles finals, while surfing and skateboarding were five of Brazil’s 10 most-watched Olympic programs in the past. during the first week of the Games.

In Japan, where more than half of the public opposed hosting the Games ahead of time, viewership remained strong, with 113.5 million Japanese watching coverage of the Games as of August 1.


Despite some rebound in new sports, the number of viewers has also declined across Europe.

Britain’s public broadcaster, the BBC, said it reached a peak live audience of 2.3 million and 944,000 streams online for the opening ceremony, a drop of 39.4% from the peak of BBC live audience for the Rio opening ceremony, and a 61% drop in peak BBC live audiences for the Beijing 2008 opening.

Discovery Inc, which owns the European rights to the Games, said on Tuesday that more than 275 million viewers have so far watched the Games through its platforms, including more than 100 million through Discovery’s television and digital coverage, and 175 million additional through its sublicensed broadcasters.

In an email, the company said it was 10% more reach than the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games.

Responding to reporters’ questions on Tuesday about the consequences of not having fans in the stands due to COVID-19 restrictions, IOC’s Lumme said it had “no effect” on audience or engagement .

While comparisons to previous Olympics are flawed given the different time zones, the NBCUniversal chief executive said the record ratings were due to the Games’ one-year delay as well as a lack of spectators.

(Reporting by Mari Saito and Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Lincoln Feast)


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