MOSCOW, February 9 (RIA Novosti) – An impressive 31.7 million viewers in the United States watched the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics opening ceremony on Friday night, which was aired hours after the fact, NBC has said.
The figure ranks Sochi as the second all-time most-watched non-live Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony since Norway’s Lillehammer Games in 1994 (33.8 million), the network said Saturday citing national data released by The Nielsen Company.
The viewership was just slightly below the 32.7 million Americans who watched the Olympics opening ceremony in Canada’s Vancouver in 2010, which was aired live by NBC.
The worldwide audience of the bombastic opening ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Olympics at the Fisht stadium stood at 3 billion, organizers said.
The three-hour show, which offered an epic overview of Russian history in 18 parts, utilized a staff of 12,000.
Participants included opera star Anna Netrebko, ballet dancers Svetlana Zakharova and Danila Korsuntsev, and cosmonauts Sergei Krikalev and Svetlana Savitskaya.
Controversial faux-lesbian pop band tATu, initially rumored to perform at the ceremony, only appeared in the pre-show. However, the Russian team entered the Parade of Nations to the mash-up of their hit “Not Gonna Get Us” and Queen’s “We Will Rock You.”
Audience of the opening ceremony at the previous Winter Games in Vancouver was put by organizers at 1 billion. Between 1 billion and 4 billion, by various estimates, watched the show that kicked off the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
The Sochi Olympics run February 7 to 23. About 3,500 athletes will compete for 98 medals in 15 disciplines.