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07 Aug 2004
IOC News , Press Release

Global TV viewing set to break records for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games

International Olympic Committee (IOC) today announced that the Athens 2004 Olympic Games global broadcast is set to break all records.


With more channels than ever before broadcasting the Olympic Games to more countries and territories, with a record number of hours, a significant rise in potential audience, and dramatic increases in live and prime-time coverage, the Athens 2004 Olympic Games broadcast is expected to be the strongest Olympic broadcast ever.


With over 300 channels now transmitting an expected 35,000 hours of dedicated coverage (2,000 hours per day) of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, it is estimated that over 3.9 billion people will have access to coverage of the Games – a significant increase from the last summer Games.


This is a jump from Sydney, where 29,600 hours of the 2000 Olympic Games were put to air, and a significant rise in coverage since the last time the Olympic Games was held in Europe when, in Barcelona in1992, 20,000 hours of the Games were broadcast.


The popularity of the broadcast of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games is anticipated to reach new levels. Total Viewer Hours (TVH), a statistic that combines the amount of coverage and the extent of viewing to most accurately measure the actual popularity of an event, are expected to be around 39 billion. In Sydney, the TVH were 36.1 billion, while for the Atlanta Games in 1996 they were 33.5 billion.


More than 60% of broadcasters have indicated that they will enhance their coverage of Athens 2004 from their Sydney 2000 broadcast coverage:


· In the US, NBC Universal Channels will offer the most in-depth Olympic broadcast in history with 24-hours-per-day coverage and a total of 1,210 hours – three times NBC’s coverage of Sydney 2000 and seven times that of Atlanta 1996

· Canada’s CBC and TSN will broadcast more than 440 hours, and Olympic coverage will consume all prime time slots

· China’s CCTV channels will broadcast more than 600 hours of the Athens Games. CCTV will broadcast 24 hours per day

· Despite unfavourable time zone differences in comparison to Sydney, Japan’s NHK and the NAB consortium are increasing their coverage for Athens

· Germany’s ZDF and ARD will offer 1,400 hours of coverage – more than three-and-a-half times Germany’s coverage of Sydney 2000

· In France, coverage will increase 42% over Sydney to around 400 hours

· Peru’s Channel 9 will offer five times its coverage of Sydney 2000

· South Africa will provide 1,965 hours across Supersport International, SABC2 and SABC3



Live coverage will be boosted with more than half of the global broadcasters showing live sports competition:

· The NBC Universal networks in the US will offer more live coverage from Athens than any Olympic Games in history, domestic or foreign, despite the seven-hour time difference from the Eastern time zone to Athens

· In the UK, in addition to more than 250 hours of live action on channels BBC1 and 2, viewers will have greater choice through live streams via the BBC’s interactive digital service

·         In Germany, ZDF’s coverage will be 70% live sports; ARD’s coverage will be 60% live

· For the first time, Azerbaijan will carry live footage of the Olympic Games

· South Korea’s three Olympic broadcasters will increase coverage by nearly 50%, and up to 70% will be live

· Several countries will carry extensive live footage for the first time, including Egypt (80%), Estonia (75%), Mozambique (60%), and Jordan (more than 50%)

· Ninety per cent of coverage on TV Bandeirantes in Brazil will be live sports

· Ninety per cent of Supersport’s 1,760 hours of coverage in South Africa will be live


Athens 2004 also will see an increase in the number of broadcast partners dedicating channels to Olympic coverage 24 hours per day. Dedicated channels, affiliated cable channels and digital interactive television services in several countries will provide more choice to viewers than ever before.


“We are very encouraged by these responses from our broadcast partners, and look forward to a great Athens 2004 broadcast,” said IOC President Jacques Rogge. “The IOC is committed to ensuring that as many people as possible throughout the world have the opportunity to share in the Olympic experience through television. As the Olympic Games return to the nation of their ancient birth and the city of their revival, it is fitting that the whole world witness the great achievements of the Olympic athletes.”


The Athens 2004 broadcast will also bring about several technological firsts that will bring Olympic Games coverage to more people around the world in new and innovative ways:

· For the first time, broadcasters in certain countries will make streaming video and highlight clips of the Olympic Games available through mobile phone handsets using 3G-technology.

· Streaming video also will be offered by a number of broadcasters via the Internet.

· A wealth of other offerings will be available on the Internet, as many broadcasters have indicated plans to create dedicated Olympic sites.

  • For the first time in summer Olympic history, the host broadcaster will provide HDTV coverage.


Olympic broadcast partners are planning to provide strong support for the IOC’s “Celebrate Humanity” promotional campaign.


Note to the editor:

The Athens 2004 Olympic broadcast projections have been issued in a pre-Games report compiled by the Olympic Television Research Centre (OTRC), managed by Sports Marketing Surveys (SMS) in the UK. The report is based on data supplied by the Official Olympic Broadcast Partners.
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