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The day 1.4Bn people tuned into watch the olympics


The 1.4 billion people that chose to watch the ceremony were for the next 4 hours treated to a show beyond the spectacular.

The Olympics understandably generate serious interest and support from people of the world globally with tourists often planning travel plans years in advance. We delve into research from Betway in an article that highlights one particular Olympics as standing out for its exceptional viewing figures, figures that are probably easiest understood when viewed as a percentage. For the Beijing Olympic opening ceremony this translated into 21% of the world’s population viewing the event live on international television broadcasts.

Beijing Olympic opening ceremony
The Beijing Olympic opening ceremony happened on the 8th of August 2008 and is often regarded as the greatest in modern Olympics history. Nothing was left to chance, this principle even applied to the time and date of the opening ceremony. This was due to the significance of the number 8 in Chinese culture and its association with good luck and wealth. The date and time of 8 PM on the 8th day of the 8th month of 2008 certainly sufficed to honour the traditional cultural significance.

The timing was not the only unusual consideration; China did not want poor weather to spoil the opening ceremony and ensured good weather by firing over 1000 rockets to disperse rain clouds before they had a chance to dampen the mood.

The venue for the opening ceremony was the stunning Beijing National Stadium, often referred to as the Birds Nest Stadium. The venue was jointly designed by the collaboration of two architects, Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron. The venue they created was utilised to its fullest during the 4-hour Olympic opening ceremony. 

Beginning with a countdown, the welcoming ceremony commenced with a flame and an ancient Chinese sundial, from there 2008 was formed using Bronze Fou Drums. Fireworks marked the start of the ceremony. This opening ceremony was to be like no other before it. This expectation and excitement for the forthcoming Olympics explain in part the phenomenal viewing figure the event received of 1.4 billion people. It can be seen from Betway's research that the 2008 Olympic opening ceremony in Beijing sits among a select few world events that have had one billion or more viewers globally, other examples are The Wall, Live In Berlin, a concert in 1990 that celebrated the removal of the Berlin Wall and Live Aid in 1985 that garnered 1.9 billion viewers.

The 1.4 billion people that chose to watch the ceremony were for the next 4 hours treated to a show beyond the spectacular involving 15,000 individual performers, the cost of the show, was 100 million US Dollars. As an interesting note, the ceremony in 2008 was up until 2012, the largest turnout of world leaders for a sporting event until the Olympics in London 4 years later piped the figure 0f 105 heads of state.

A spectacular close
The ceremony was brought to a close with a spectacular fireworks display, the Chinese showing their skill at creating Olympic rings in the sky. The ceremony overran by 40 minutes eventually finishing at ten past midnight. A resounding success that would go down in history for its exceptional performance, as much as its viewing figures.

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