August 02, 2012 1:59pm PT by Michael O'Connell
London 2012: 'Archery is the New Curling,' as 'Hunger Games' Boosts Olympic Interest
Though Katniss Everdeen would deem the stakes considerably lower, The Hunger Games effect can apparently even be felt at the Olympics.
The first week of events is approaching its end, and the biggest ratings winner among the Games' cable coverage is archery.
"The numbers for archery have been nothing less than huge,” NBC research president Alan Wurtzel told reporters on Thursday. “It delivered an average of 1.5 million cable viewers, the highest rated cable sport, beating out basketball." (Prior to Thursday, cable basketball coverage had not included the U.S. team.)
"Maybe it’s the Hunger Games phenomenon," he added.
Big personalities in the archery race actually include Khatuna Lorig, Jennifer Lawrence's archery instructor from the film. It's her fifth time competing in a Summer Games, and on Thursday afternoon she actually placed fourth in the women's individual tournament.
Brady Ellison, America's great hope in the sport, was eliminated on Wednesday.
So what does this say, other than afternoon audiences' apparent fondness for weapons? "Archery is the new curling," said Wurtzel
He speaks, of course, of the hypnotic, icy cousin of shuffleboard, which found its largest audience ever during the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver.