FINAL SCORE: 203 MILLION OLYMPICS VIEWERS

Overall NBC Audience Exceeded Sydney Games by 10%

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- NBC's TV coverage of the Athens Olympic Games attracted a total of 203 million viewers, making it the most viewed non-U.S. Summer Games in history. The
Photo: AP
Ten year-old Fotini Papaleonidopoulou holds a lantern in the shape of a seed after lighting it from the Olympic cauldron during Sunday's closing ceremony.
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final numbers exceeded the Games held in Sydney in 2000 by 10%, according to NBC, citing figures from Nielsen Media Research.

Just above guarantee
The 17-day quadrennial sports event scored an average national TV viewership rating of 15 and a 26 share, up 9% over the Sydney Games and more than the 14.5 rating guaranteed to advertisers.

While viewership spiked far above the guaranteed rating a number of times during the Games, viewership across the entire event, on average, was only half a point more than the rating guaranteed advertisers.

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.)

Closing ceremony
The closing ceremony, held Sunday, attracted 19.6 million viewers compared with the 16.7 million who watched during the 2000 event. It rated 11.9 and gained a 20 share.

However, not everyone was glued to the Games. According to Nielsen's weekly programming analysis for Aug. 23-29, published today, CBS drew much of the non-Olympic viewing traffic.

While NBC's Olympic coverage took the top seven ratings positions for the week, Viacom-owned CBS captured the next 13 highest-rated shows during the period. CSI, Without a Trace and CSI: Miami took the eighth, ninth and 10th spots.

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