Branding the World of Sports

Beijing Opening was most watched live event in TV history

Posted by ZA on May 11, 2009

If you added up the entire population of the countries that make up North & South America, they still would not equal the number of people that watched the Opening Ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.  The Times of London is reporting that nearly 1 billion people (984 million) tuned in to watch all or part of the kickoff event from the Summer Games in China. And the report from Futures Sport + Entertainment does not account for people that watched in public places, which easily pushes the number over a billion.

That makes the Beijing Olympic Games Opening Ceremonies the most watched live event in the history of television.  More people tuned in to the Birds Nest (venue that housed the event) than had ever watched a Super Bowl, World Cup Final or other sporting event in the past.  The billion viewers number also greatly surpasses the largest non-live television audience, which was approximately 100 million viewers for the final episode of M*A*S*H in 1983.

The folks at NBC must be pretty excited to be a big part of that historic event.  Even with technology enabling more of the World to have access to television, it is hard to imagine any upcoming event surpassing this record.  At least until 2012 rolls around and we have the Opening Ceremonies for the London Games.

[Assist: Sports Business Daily]

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