Mongolia and Azerbaijan will make their Olympic Winter Games debut at next month's Turin Games, said the International Olympic Committee.
The IOC, said in a pre-Games report that the Turin Games were expected to be the "most watched in history".
"Increased free-to-air coverage in Africa and Asia will see the number of countries and territories broadcasting the Games rise from 160 for the 2002 Salt Lake City to 200 for Turin 2006," it said.
More than 3.2 billion people will have access to the Games, an increase of five percent from four years ago.
In sub-Saharan Africa alone, the number of territories taking free-to-air coverage has increased from two to 40, the IOC said.
"The indications from broadcasters are indeed positive and reinforce our commitment to making the Olympic Games available on free-to-air as many people as possible," said IOC president Jacques Rogge.
"The figures demonstrate that worldwide interest in the Olympic Winter Games is high."
(AFP via CRI Jan. 27, 2006)