Thanks to global television, millions of viewers now watch the Olympics across the world. For the first time the Winter Olympics were available on television in 120 countries across every continent. The XVIIth Winter Olympic Games in Lillehammer were a huge media success winning increased ratings in many countries. In the USA, the CBS viewing figures beat every previous Olympic prime-time rating for either the summer or winter Games. However, despite the vast expenditure and the global popularity of Olympic coverage there has been little scholarly attention paid to this media phenomenon.
Was Lillehammer 1994 a unified global event or did different cultures and audiences experience the Olympic Games in diversified ways? Do modern media events, such as the Olympic Games, contribute to the global village? If so, what is the role of the mass media in these processes?