As a nation of sports lovers, the Olympic Games provides viewing gold for Australian audiences.

17 August 2016

As a nation of sports lovers, the Olympic Games provides viewing gold for Australian audiences. From the broadcast of the Melbourne 1956 Olympic Games when television (the 'new technology') entered our homes for the first time; through to the closing ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympics, when 8.7 million Australians tuned in.

The Sydney 2000 Olympic Games was also at the forefront of providing online access to information about the games. The Sydney Olympics website received over 230 million page visits over a 17 day period. The Beijing 2008 Olympic Games was the first digital games with multi-platform internet and mobile broadcasting. In recent years we have seen the trial of 3D and virtual reality broadcasting. It will be interesting to see where technology takes us in the next four years.

With the games of the Rio 2016 Olympics coming to a close, we look at some key moments in the past sixty years of Olympic Games broadcasting.

2016 Olympics infographic

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Olympics broadcasting and online stats and figures

1956 Melbourne Television Firsts!

  • Television broadcasts turned on in Melbourne and Sydney just in time for the Melbourne Games.
  • Melbourne Games set a precedent for future broadcast rights to be sold to television broadcasters.

2000 Spotlight on Sydney

  • 8.7 million Australians watched Seven Network's broadcast of the closing ceremony.
  • 3500 hours of Olympic action broadcast coverage.
  • Broadcast in a total of 220 countries and territories.
  • 3.7 billion global television audience.
  • 49 hours watched per Australian.
  • Over 900 cameras used.

2004 Athens

  • HDTV of the games introduced for some regions.

2008 Beijing

  • The first digital games with full multi-platform internet and mobile broadcasts.

2012 London

  • Nine Network provided daily highlights package in 3D.

2016 Rio

  • Seven Network and Samsung Electronics Australia partner to provide 100 hours of live and on-demand VR to selected Samsung Galaxy smartphones compatible with Samsung Gear VR via the '7Rio VR 2016' app.
  • Seven Network introduces (paid) streaming app, with 3000 hours of content.

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