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International: Overall Athens Olympic viewership up 7% over Sydney

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International: Overall Athens Olympic viewership up 7% over Sydney

Data released by NBC last night shows that the first 11 days of the Athens Olympics has drawn more viewers than the entire 17 days of the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney, Australia.

188 million viewers

The network released its cumulative figures for its coverage through Aug. 23, showing that the games already have attracted 188 million viewers vs. the total 185 million who tuned in 2000. The Athens telecast to Monday night (the game's opening ceremony took place Aug. 13) is currently averaging a 15.8 rating and 28 share, still above the average 14.5 ratings guarantees the network made to media-buying agencies for the event as a whole.

A share is a percentage of television households that have their TV sets on at a given time. A rating is a percentage of all TV households, whether or not their sets are turned on. (For example, a 1.0 rating is 1% of the total U.S. households with TV.)

68% of population

According to an NBC statement, 68% of the U.S. population have now watched the games.

The network gained a 16.4 rating Aug. 23, with coverage of individual gymnastic events and track and field; the previous Monday performed slightly better, gaining a 16.6 rating (coverage included the men's gymnastics team final and Michael Phelps swimming the 200-meter freestyle event). While the rating was slightly off, the network's share was slightly higher for Aug. 23, at 28 vs. 27 the previous week.

NBC executives had earlier said track-and-field events generally did not attract as many viewers as gymnastics and swimming competitions.

Web traffic

Separately, Nielsen/Net Ratings released Web traffic figures for various sites connected to the Olympics. showed a traffic surge of 236% to 1.3 million unique visitors for the week ending Aug. 15. Owned by Tribune Media Services, provides news, features and in-depth listings for TV programming and movies.

As a result of a partnership deal with NBC's, is providing a Web index to TV Olympic coverage that allows online visitors to quickly search for events by sports, network, day and time.

The second most heavily trafficked Olympics Web site was, driven by; it was up 110% with 2.2 million unique visitors., meanwhile, logged 640,000 unique visitors. The prior week it had not gathered enough traffic to be rated.

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