Vancouver Olympics great but not best

By BOB MACKIN, QMI Agency

VANCOUVER - A lot of people around the world watched the 2010 Winter Olympics, but not as many as the official Games-time estimate.

The International Olympic Committee’s Vancouver 2010 marketing report shows actual viewership was just over half the oft-repeated 3.5 billion estimate from IOC marketing director Timo Lumme's Feb. 23 news conference.

IOC spokesman Benjamin Seeley told QMI Wednesday by email that “the potential reach (i.e. the number of people that had access to coverage of the Games) broke records for a Winter Games at 3.8 billion. The actual number of viewers was 1.8 billion and broke viewing figure records in a number of key markets.”

CTV coverage of the Games set domestic records. The Feb. 28 gold medal hockey final (16.6 million) and closing ceremony (14.3 million) became the two most-watched events in Canadian TV history.

Meanwhile, 2010 Olympic ticket sales blew away Turin 2006, but didn’t match Salt Lake 2002.

The Turin 2006 marketing report said 896,481 out of 1,133,481 available tickets were sold for €66 million. The value in Canadian dollars on the 2006 Games’ closing day was $90.3 million.

A June 2002 IOC marketing newsletter said 1,525,118 of the 1,605,524 tickets available for Salt Lake 2002 were sold. Organizers reported US$183 million revenue, which was equal to $291.8 million in Canadian currency on the 2002 Games’ closing day.

The IOC’s July 6-published Vancouver 2010 marketing report said VANOC sold 1.49 million of the 1.54 million tickets available for $257 million. The original inventory was 1.6 million.

Recession-rocked VANOC had what previous organizers didn’t: a ticket scalping website that gave it a 20 percent cut of each transaction.

The audited VANOC financial report is expected in late fall.

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