New Delhi, Aug 20 : Beijing Olympic Games may become the biggest broadcast event in the Olympic history, according to an official with the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Timo Lumme, managing director of IOC Television and Marketing Services, said at a press conference in the Games' Main Press Center that there is an unprecedented amount of Olympic sports content available, with around 5,000 hours of coverage provided for viewers in around 200 countries and regions worldwide through the rights holding broadcast partners.
Lumme claimed that during the Beijing Games, these partners are expected to make a combined total coverage, which will be around three times that of the Athens Games, reports Xinhua.
He also hailed the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games as a sports-related event with the highest broadcast rating in the history of Chinese television.
"A staggering 842 million people in China tuned in to watch some coverage of the Opening Ceremony," he said.
"Although we won't have the complete definitive global statistics for sometime yet, indications suggested that the figure for the total viewing in the world could be around 1.2 billion people," he said.
Lumme added that the figures from the major markets of the world had in general surpassed those for the opening ceremonies of the Sydney and Athens Games.
In the US, NBC also registered the largest audience on Aug 16 night for 18 years as over 40 million viewers tuned in to watch Michael Phelps win his record eighth gold medal at one Games.
In China, over one billion people have already watched some Olympic sports coverage.
Lumme said that to cater for this demand, CCTV, IOC's broadcast partner in China, has dedicated a total of nine channels to the Games' overage.