PyeongChang, Feb 20 (IANS) More than 300 million people worldwide are estimated to have watched the opening ceremony of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics on television, a senior International Olympic Committee (IOC) official said on Tuesday.
“For the opening ceremony, we estimate that there will be over 300 million viewers who have watched some parts of the opening ceremony,” Timo Lumme, managing director of IOC’s television and marketing services, said at a press conference at the Olympic Main Press Centre in PyeongChang, reports Yonhap.
The February 9 opening ceremony received praise around the world. Despite a relatively tight budget of 66.8 billion won ($62.5 million), the opening event impressed viewers and the media, with high-tech set productions using hundreds of drones, figure skating star Kim Yu-na’s dramatic lighting of the torch and the historic joint march by athletes of the two Koreas.
Lumme added that networks in South Korea, China and Japan carrying the Games have seen consistent increases in viewership. He noted that 10 million people in South Korea watched the opening ceremony.
The IOC officials pointed out that speed skating events have achieved the highest viewership in South Korea and China among all competitions, while figure skating events have been the most popular for the Japanese audience.
In the United States, NBC’s prime time Olympics coverage has exceeded the ratings of all major competitor networks, Lumme said, noting that NBC’s viewership was often double the combined audience of its competitors.