Olympics: Surfing, Skating Boost Audiences as Ratings Suffer, Sport News & Top Stories


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 (IOC) said on Tuesday (August 3rd). , minimizing any impact of the lack of spectators.

The bullish projections presented by the sports body on Tuesday contrasted with early valuation data, which indicated that the Tokyo Games were 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 attracted 16.9 million American viewers, the smallest audience for the event in the past 33 years.

Timo Lumme, director general of television and marketing services at the IOC, said audiences came to watch the Games by “millions” in the United States, with an average prime-time Olympic viewing of around 17 million. of American viewers every night.

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

In China, large numbers of viewers watched the men’s 100m and table tennis singles finals, he said, while surfing and skateboarding were five of the top 10 Olympic programs. watched in Brazil during the first week of the games.

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

Britain’s public broadcaster, the BBC, said it recorded a peak live audience of 2.3 million and 944,000 online streams for the opening ceremony, down 39.4% from the peak of BBC live audience for the Rio opening ceremony, and 61% down one hundred from the BBC’s peak live audience 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 questions from reporters on Tuesday about the fallout from the lack of fans in the stands due to Covid-19 restrictions, Lumme said the lack of spectators in the Olympic stands due to Covid-19 restrictions had “no effect” on the audience of the Games. or commitment.

In Japan, where more than half of the public was opposed to holding the Games ahead of the event, viewership remained strong, Lumme said, with 113.5 million Japanese watching coverage of the Games on Sunday.


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