Salem Radio Network News Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Sports

Olympics-Surfing, skating boosts viewership, lack of fans has zero impact- IOC

TOKYO (Reuters) – New events such as surfing and skateboarding that made their debut at the Tokyo Olympics boosted the Games’ viewership and the lack of spectators in stadiums had no impact on engagement from fans, the International Olympic Committee said on Tuesday.

Timo Lumme, the managing director of television and marketing services at the IOC, said he expected to see slightly more people watched Tokyo’s opening ceremony than Rio’s in 2016, with total TV viewership expected to climb to around 600 million.

In China, huge numbers of viewers tuned in to see the 100-metre men’s race and the finals of the table tennis singles event, he said, while surfing and skateboarding made up five of the top 10 most viewed Olympic programmes in Brazil through the first week of the Games.

Lumme said the lack of spectators in the Olympic stands due to COVID-19 restrictions had “no effect” on the Games’ viewership or engagement, with fans in some regions already accustomed to watching sports online or on TV without seeing spectators in the background during the pandemic.

Though it was too early to say whether Tokyo would be the most viewed Games ever, Lumme said he was happy with the solid numbers so far.

In Japan, where more than half of the public were opposed to holding the Games in the run-up to the event, viewership numbers remained robust, Lumme said, with 113.5 million Japanese watching some coverage of the Games as of August 1.

(Reporting by Mari Saito and Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)

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