Much like the Olympic marathon, NBC's viewing figures for the Athens Olympic Games started well, maintained pace throughout and finished with a total of 203 million.

The American broadcast network has exclusive US TV rights to the Games, up to 2012, and the total viewership for this year's Olympics places it top of all non-US located Summer Games.

With audience numbers beating those for the Sydney 2000 Games by 10%, the average viewer rating (percentage of all US TV households) and share (percentage of TV households with TV sets on at a given time) also exceeded the 2000 Olympics, with figures of 15 and 26 respectively.

The figures, provided by Nielsen Media Research, show that the average rating just topped the level guaranteed to advertisers, although the guarantee was far exceeded several times throughout the Games.

Although Olympic coverage captured the top seven ratings slots for the week August 23-29, rival broadcaster CBS fared well, taking the next thirteen.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff