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Rio opening ceremony attracts 3.8 million viewers - less than fifth of 2012

Published 08/08/2016

Fireworks light up the performers' dance during the opening ceremony at Rio (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
Fireworks light up the performers' dance during the opening ceremony at Rio (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
Artists perform during the opening ceremony for the 2016 Summer Olympics (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

Nearly four million people stayed up to watch the opening ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympics - less than a fifth of the number that tuned in for the curtain-raiser of London 2012.

Provisional ratings for the ceremony, which lasted well into the early hours of Saturday morning, suggest an average of 3.8 million viewers watched BBC1's coverage.

The equivalent figure for the 2012 opening ceremony was 22.4 million.

Audiences were always likely to be smaller on this occasion, given the four-hour time difference between the UK and Brazil.

This year's ceremony did not begin until midnight in Britain, compared with a 9pm kick-off in 2012.

The official ratings for the 2016 ceremony are likely to go up significantly once viewers watching on catch-up are included.

A final figure will be published next week.

Catch-up audiences boosted ratings for the 2012 ceremony from 22.4 million to 24.2 million, making it the second most-watched TV broadcast of the decade so far.

The most-watched is the 2012 Olympics closing ceremony, which attracted a total audience of 24.5 million.

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