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ATHENS 2004

Early TV Ratings Down From the 2000 Olympics

August 16, 2004|Larry Stewart

After two nights of Olympic coverage from Athens, prime-time ratings for NBC's coverage were down in comparison to Sydney, Australia, four years ago.

The opening ceremony at Athens got a 14.4 national rating and a 26 share, compared to a 16.2/29 for Sydney.

The first night of competition on Saturday earned an 11.7/23, compared to 13.1/25 in 2000.

Because NBC is televising the Athens games on seven platforms, however, this coverage is drawing more viewers than the coverage four years ago. According to NBC, 78 million viewers watched on Saturday, 12 million more than Day 2 drew in Sydney.

For the prime-time coverage on NBC Saturday night, San Diego was the highest-rated market with a 21.1/38, followed by Salt Lake City's 20.0/40.

Los Angeles drew a 15.0/28, 18th among the major markets.

The opening ceremony Friday night drew 56 million viewers, even with the audience for Sydney's opening ceremony.

"With the average American household having 25 more channels to choose from than it did four years ago, it feels great to be right on the viewership levels of Sydney's opening ceremony," NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol said.

L.A. drew a 19.7/33 for the opening ceremony and ranked 11th among major markets. Salt Lake City had the top numbers, a 25.6/48.

-- Larry Stewart

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