By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated July 24, 1998 12:00 AM
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It seems that fewer people are watching the Olympics than expected. NBC’s ratings for the Sydney Olympics are being categorized as disappointing, given that they are 32% lower than the TV viewership for the last Summer Games (Atlanta, 1996) and 10% lower than the 1992 Barcelona Games and the 1988 ones in Seoul. NBC estimated that 64 million people tuned in for at least a portion of Sunday’s coverage, which at least was an improvement over Saturday’s opener, which the network said drew an estimated 56 million viewers (reportedly the lowest rating for any single night of Summer Olympic coverage since the 1970s). Most significantly, points out the Associated Press, the ratings have yet to approach what NBC promised advertisers they would. Part of the problem is being attributed to the fact that the Olympic heats are being shown on tape rather than live, given the 18-hour time difference between Sydney and the East Coast of the U.S.