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2008- The Beijing Summer Olympics is the most watched sporting event

August 24, 2022

NBC had a sure bet when it came to televising the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. Spanning both summer and winter television audiences, previous Olympic Games garnered millions of viewers spread throughout the globe. With its 11th production of the Olympics, NBC Universal set a record for the most for a broadcast network, surpassing ABC.

While sports events like the Super Bowl may have more simultaneous viewers, television rating companies like Nielsen can accurately measure viewer-ship across several audiences and time zones. The 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China, occurred between August 8 and 24. According to Nielsen, 4.7 billion viewers tuned in at some point over the course of the Games. The previous record had been the 2004 Athens Games, which had 3.9 billion viewers. The Sydney Games in 2000 dropped to third place.

The Olympic Games consistently produce sports legends across all sports and countries as medal counts become parts of evening news broadcasts. That summer in 2008, an estimated 70% of the world's population tuned in to watch the games at various points throughout the competitions. The Beijing Games featured American swimmer Michael Phelps winning 8 gold medals. Mark Spitz set the previous record at the 1972 Olympic Games. As the closing ceremonies got underway, the United States ranked 2nd in the medal count, and lost the gold medal lead to host country China.



    I was in Beijing for 2008 Olympic, great event.

  2. McP

    Talking about blinded bias.2008 Olympics highest rated and no mention of Usain Bolt making that possible but Michael Phelps?
    You got to be kidding

  3. Guy

    The CCP must have turned on the internet, temporarily, for the games to boost the viewership! They’ll do anything to make themselves look good!


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