5 of the most-watched summer Olympic opening ceremonies

The opening ceremony is one of the best-loved parts of any Olympic games, as it signals a summer of sport across the world. But with a whole host of countries providing what can only be described as spectacular, shows lasting multiple hours, which ones proved the most popular among a global audience?

As part of their Karaoke campaign the broadband team at Uswitch, have rounded up the top five summer Olympic opening ceremonies that had the most views on YouTube since they were broadcast. 

So if you are ready relive some of the most jaw-dropping shows check out the list below: 

  1. London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony – 15,000,000 views


Number of Views: 15,123,039

Notable Performers: Paul McCartney, Arctic Monkeys, Dizzee Rascal, Mike Oldfield 

The London Olympic opening ceremony is arguably one of the most iconic performances across all the Olympic games, thanks to its showcase of everything that is quintessentially British. 

The show featured music from a number of recognisable British musicians, including Paul McCartney, the Arctic Monkeys, and Dizzee Rascal. 

Viewers might also remember the moment James Bond and Queen Elizabeth appeared to jump out of a helicopter and into the stadium. The four-hour spectacular had so many memorable segments it’s easy to see why it’s managed to stack up so many views on YouTube. 

Watch it again here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4As0e4de-rI 

  1. Rio 2016 Olympic Opening Ceremony – 5,400,583 views 

Number of views: 5,400,583

Notable performances: Gisele Bundchen, Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil 

Rio came next on the list with a colourful and vibrant ceremony that managed to tot up 5.4 million views on YouTube, despite having a much smaller budget than London’s 2012 ceremony. 

The impressive show in Brazil saw the likes of supermodel Gisele Bundchen grace the stage along with singers Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil, while the rest of the ceremony paid a touching tribute to Rio’s culture and history. 

Watch it again here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_qXm9HY9Ro 

  1. Beijing 2008 Olympic Opening Ceremony – 2,635,462 views 

Number of Views: 2,635,462

Notable Performances: Jackie Chan, Lang Lang 


Coming in third place was the summer Olympics in 2008 that was held in Beijing. With a supposed budget of $100 million, the ceremony had everything from musicians to dancers during its colourful display. 

Notable performances throughout the ceremony included movie star Jackie Chan, who sang with several other singers as part of the encore. With such a big cast, the opening ceremony proved its popularity with 2.6 million people watching the spectacular on YouTube. 

Watch again here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bufV3EgyPGU 

  1. Athens 2004 Olympic Opening Ceremony – 1,354,031 views 

Number of Views: 1,354,031

Notable Performances: Björk

Back in 2004, the summer Olympic Games was held in Athens, and the opening ceremony has managed to tot up 1.3 million views on YouTube since its broadcast. 

To celebrate the Olympics returning to its country of origin, the show had several nods towards Ancient Greek history, including mythical gods. 

The ceremony was made even more special with a performance from singer Björk who’s dress expanded across the floor of the stadium to represent the ocean. 

Watch again here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YYvnvr8Cpzo 

  1. Sydney 2000 Olympic Opening Ceremony – 583,048 views 


Number of Views: 583,048

Notable Performances: Olivia Newton-John 

The Olympics held in Sydney was one a lot of people won’t forget for a while as it showcased a number of famous places across the continent including the Great Barrier Reef. 

The dazzling display included a performance from singers Olivia Newton-John and John Farnham, who sang the song Dare to Dream, which was written for the occasion. 

With sea creature puppets and Olympic rings mown into the grass, it’s not hard to see why this opening ceremony made the top 5. 

Watch it again: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qsLLzL27hYA 

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