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Beijing Olympiad allures German TV audience
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19:19, August 20, 2008

In a grand service hall of Mercedes close to Berlin's Tigel airport on Tuesday, a huge LCD screen was showing the live broadcast of Beijing Olympic Games.

Customers sit around the coffee tables in front of the screen to watch the Gymnastic matches, chatting in low voices over their coffee.

When German gold hopeful Fabian Hambuechen walked to the horizontal bar, several staff members came over to watch the competition.

Watching the Beijing Olympic Games in public places like this prevails in Germany despite a time difference of six hours behind.

As the Beijing Olympic events are scheduled for working hours in Germany, German sports lovers have to shift their work schedule so that they can enjoy live broadcast in public places.

"I want to watch the live broadcast, but I have to work here," said a female receptionist at a hotel in Western German city of Koeln.

"I watched several parts of the opening ceremony, it is terrific," she said with a shining smile.

In coffee shops near the hotel, the shop owners fixed their TV channels on Eurosport, which broadcasts the Beijing Games live, to attract sports fans. The trick proved so effective that nearly all the seats in the cafes were full.

As renowned sports fans, many Germans would not bear to miss the Olympic Games, a grand sports event that comes every four years.

For one thing, Olympic tickets were sold out in Germany about one month before the opening of the Games.

To meet the public demand, German public TV channels ARD and ZDF plus Eurosport have offered comprehensive coverage of the Beijing Olympiad, providing live broadcast of major events, especially those involving German athletes.

Statistics released on Tuesday indicated that both ARD and ZDF registered an average hike of 30 percent in their audience rating during their daytime live coverage of Olympiad.

On Aug. 13 when German athletes sealed four golds within one day, the audience rating of ZDF reached 36.5 percent during the daytime, and on Aug. 17, around 820,000 Germans got up at 6:43 a.m. local time to watch ARD's live coverage of wresting competitions.

"There is no surprise to us (in Olympiad coverage), but we are very satisfied," Walter Johannsen, who is in charge of Olympiad coverage for ARD and ZDF, was quoted as saying by German radio Deutche Welle.

A German couple in their sixties told Xinhua earlier they had been watching the Beijing Olympiad on TV almost every day.

"Peking, Olympiad, Good!" the lady said in English.

Some smart businesses were trying to cash in on the Olympiad fever among the German public and tourists from abroad.

Renowned German kitchenware maker WMF had Olympic flags fluttering over their stores, offering discounts during the Beijing Olympiad to lure more customers.

Sebastian Bersick, a German scholar on Europe-China relations, have long focused his attention on the Beijing Games.

"I watched parts of the opening ceremony and was stunned. Fantastic!" said Bersick, who used to study in China for two years and speaks fluent Chinese.

"It has been a tremendous show and I cannot see any way for London to top it," he said.

Source: Xinhua

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1 China 44 14 19 77
2 USA 26 26 27 79
3 Great Britain 16 10 9 35
4 Russia 11 14 18 43
5 Australia 11 12 12 35
6 Germany 11 8 9 28
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