Hockey has been ranked in the top half of all Olympic sports in a report analysing television coverage at the 2004 Olympic Games released by the International Olympic Committee. 

On the eve of the vote to determine the programme for the 2012 Olympic Games, the report ranks hockey in the top half (13th) of the 28 Olympic summer sports. In total, hockey recorded more than 300 hours of coverage and almost 500 million viewer hours across the six continents monitored for the Athens Games. 

The rankings for prime time coverage were even more impressive, with hockey ranked 10th in the number of hours broadcast in peak viewing times. In total, more than 40 hours of hockey was shown in prime time, equating to more than 165 million viewing hours around the world. 

The result shows the impressive improvements made by the sport since the 2000 Olympic Games, where hockey was ranked in the bottom third in a similar survey. 

“The International Olympic Committee report clearly illustrates the significant progress hockey has made over the past four years,” FIH President Els van Breda Vriesman said. 

“The fact that hockey’s television exposure is now ranked in the top half of all Olympic sports is a significant boost ahead of the vote to determine the 2012 Olympic Games programme in Singapore on July 8. 

“Also, our ranking in the top ten for prime time coverage shows hockey’s universal appeal and the demand for the sport in peak viewing times.” 

Other findings of the report:
· Hockey received the most coverage and viewer hours in Asian countries, specifically it was popular in China, India and South Korea which made up 40% of the total Asian coverage and generated 92% of the viewer hours.
· Hockey was also popular in Europe, with Germany and the Netherlands together accounting for 38% and 68% of the European coverage and viewer hours respectively.
· Argentina scored highly for hockey; it came second globally for viewing levels and accounted for 87% of the Central and South American viewer hours.
· By viewer hours, USA was ranked third for hockey and accounted for 99% of the total North American coverage and viewer hours. 
· Hockey proved to be popular in South Africa, one of the country’s top Athens 2004 Olympic audiences of 1.5 million viewers tuned in to the men’s preliminary match between South Africa and India