skip to content
03 Aug 2000
IOC News


Lausanne, 3 August 2000 - Reach, Coverage, and Viewership All to Rank at the Top Broadcast Projected to Reach 3.7 Billion, Capture 40 Billion-Plus Total Viewing Hours -

The Olympic Games in Sydney will be the most televised and watched Olympic Games to-date, according to projections released today by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The projections are based on the IOC’s Pre-Games Television Report developed by Sports Marketing Surveys Ltd. (SMS) and a recent Ipsos-Reid World Poll demonstrating very high interest in watching the Olympic Games in advance of broadcaster promotion.
Olympic coverage will be broadcast to practically the entire world, expected to reach 3.7 billion of the 4 billion people in the world who have access to television.
The duration of broadcast coverage will break all records, with nearly half of the broadcasters increasing coverage above that of the Olympic Games in Atlanta. South African broadcasters will increase their coverage by 434 percent, televising 930 hours of Olympic programming; Canadian broadcasters by 326 percent, airing 1,039 hrs.; Chinese broadcasters by 263 percent, televising 740 hrs.; and U.S. broadcasters by 162 percent, airing 442 hours.
Average viewing intentions over the course of the Games range from seven hours in developing markets to over 15 hours in the U.S. and Germany to over 30 hours in Australia and Japan and up to 45 hours in Finland and Korea.
Total Viewer Hours are expected to eclipse 40 billion viewer hours as a result of increased coverage, reach, and interest in the Olympic Games.

The IOC/SMS projection of high viewer interest was substantiated by data collected during June and July 2000, as part of the Ipsos-Reid World Poll, an omnibus survey of persons living in 39 countries conducted by Ipsos-Reid, one of the world's leading public opinion research firms. The poll found 71 percent of those questioned around the world were very or somewhat interested in watching the Sydney Olympic Games on television. In Japan, 88 percent of those questioned were very or somewhat interested; in Australia, 78 percent; in India, 69 percent; in China, 79 percent; and in the U.S., 72 percent.

“To have this much interest registered so far out in advance of the Olympic Games bodes very well for Olympic viewership,” said Andrew Grenville, senior vice president of Ipsos-Reid. “You can only expect these numbers to grow as the excitement of the Games build and broadcaster promotions roll out.”

Stephen Proctor, managing director of Sports Marketing Surveys, added, “Our preliminary research suggests the Sydney Olympic Games is going to set new global television broadcast records. Many broadcasters intend to dedicate more air-time than ever before and to introduce innovative broadcast techniques specifically for the Sydney Olympic Games. This, together with improved access to television around the world, suggests that these Olympic Games will be the most televised Olympics to date.”

Broadcast Reach – Global Audience
The latest research statistics from the United Nations and the World Advertising Industry state 4 billion of the world’s 6 billion people now have access to a television set. Of these 4 billion people, it is estimated 3.7 billion will watch some part of the Olympic Games. This represents an increase of 700 million people over the broadcast reach of the Atlanta broadcast in 1996.

Regional breakdowns of the expected Olympic audience are below:

Population w/ Access to TV
Est. Olympic Audience / Reach
Penetration of Olympic Broadcast

778 M
248 M

Central and South America
515 M

North America
304 M
303 M

3,569 M
2365 M

783 M
681 M

30 M
24 M

5,979 M
4,014 M
3,702 M

This increase in reach is due to a cascade of several factors, among them:

more people have gained access to television;
the Olympic Games are broadcast on the dominant networks in the countries across the world. So far, the Olympic broadcast will be shown in 220 countries/territories, up from 214 countries/territories for Atlanta. (For comparison, there are 188 member states in the United Nations and 199 National Olympic Committees.);
more broadcasters in more countries are signing up to televise the Olympic Games;
these broadcasters are interested in developing more programming due to the growing popularity of the Games around the world.

Global audience for the Olympic Games will be further enhanced by radio coverage, which has a broader access in developing markets and is expected to take the global Olympic audience to well over 4 billion people.

Internet coverage also is expected to set further records. In 1988, f
Tags IOC News
back to top