90% of UK watching Olympic Games


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The Independent Online

Almost nine out of 10 people in the UK have watched some coverage of the London 2012 Olympics, officials said today.

More than 50.572 million people, some 88% of the total number of people living in the UK, have tuned in as Britain closes in on its best Games in more than a century, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said.

Timo Lumme, of the IOC's television marketing services, said: "I think London 2012 heralds a new era in Olympic broadcasting."

There are likely to be more than 100,000 hours of television footage of the Games, compared with 61,000 hours for Beijing four years ago, he said.

Digital output, online and on mobile phones, is also expected to exceed the amount of television footage for the first time, he added.

He said organisers believe London 2012 broadcasts will reach "more viewers than ever before", with a global reach of 4.8 billion across every country in the world.

More than 20 million viewers in the UK watched Jamaica's Usain Bolt, the fastest man on earth, win the men's 100m final on Sunday night, Mr Lumme added.

"That was the second highest Olympic audience in the UK of all time, beaten only by (Jayne) Torvill and (Christopher) Dean's final free dance routine in Sarajevo in 1984, which produced 23.95 million viewers," he said.

Jackie Brock-Doyle, organiser Locog's director of communications, said the success of the Games has led to a "big uplift in Paralympic ticket sales". Figures will be released in the next couple of days, she added.

Some 486,000 spectators turned out to watch the Games across all venues yesterday, including 230,000 in venues at the Olympic Park in Stratford, east London, and 1,200 who had tickets to enter the park alone, rather than for specific sports, figures showed.

The total number of London 2012 spectators has now topped the six million mark, Ms Brock-Doyle said.