It’s official: the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games attracted the largest global TV audience ever.
Between August 8 and August 24, 4.7 billion viewers — or 70% of the world’s population — tuned in to watch the Games, according to Nielsen. In comparison, 3.9 billion watched the 2004 Athens Games, while 3.6 billion followed the 2000 Sydney Games on TV.
Host nation China led the viewing with 94% of Chinese viewers tuning in to the Olympics TV coverage, Nielsen reported. South Korea, though a much less populous nation, also recorded 94% audience reach. Mexico followed closely with 93% of all viewers in that country following the Olympics on TV.
In the U.S., the Summer Games ranked as the most-viewed TV event ever, with a total audience of 211 million and an average daily audience of 27 million people.
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Read coverage of Nielsen’s findings in The Hollywood Reporter, Multichannel News, The Huffington Post, and on Bloomberg.