While you're busy grumbling about missing the men's 100m final on Sunday because of NBC's tape-delay policies, millions in Britain will be watching live, and the BBC's non-stop Olympics coverage strategy is paying off for them in a huge way.
The BBC scored a ratings high (excluding the opening ceremonies) for this year's Summer Olympics during the final leg of British runner Mo Farah's 10,000 meter gold medal win with about 17 million viewers on Saturday. It was the sixth gold medal Britain won on Saturday, their best day at any Olympics since 1908, the last time the games were in London. Don't let anyone tell you home court advantage is a myth. And that audience is only going to grow as the games go on. Sunday's Murray-Federer final will be huge for British audiences, and probably set another peak audience record. The two faced off in this year's Wimbledon final, but Murray failed to become the first man from Great Britain to win Wimbledon in over 70 years. Now, back at Centre Court, the two square off in a rematch on the biggest stage possible. Nope, no one in Britain will watch that.
Their overall numbers aren't quite as high as NBC's, but this New York Times report about the future of Olympics coverage says the organizer's philosophy might to be changing. A sports broadcast analyst told the Times that the quantity of coverage is becoming as important as the quality. "The priority is still to get as many people as possible watching the Olympics," the analyst says, "but now they also want the maximum amount of coverage, to give greater exposure to some of the minor sports." Over 45 million people have tuned in to at least 15 minutes of the BBC's coverage. Someone ended up watching badminton, so we're ready to call this a success.
Here's a video of the BBC announcers when Farah crossed the finish line. Bob Costas hasn't been this excited about anything in 30 years.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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