Advertising expenditure in China during the Beijing Olympics was well below forecasts, the Financial Times reported, citing market research group Nielsen. Previous Olympic hosts, such as Athens and Atlanta, saw local advertising spending increase by about 25% around the games. However, Nielsen calculated that spending in China during the Olympic month of August was only slightly ahead of the amount spent in May, when the Sichuan earthquake caused some advertisers to briefly suspend activities. Advertising sales in August were US$5.3 billion. That represents growth of just 7% over August 2007, compared with average year-on-year growth of 19% in the seven months leading up to the Olympics. Nielsen said Olympic sponsors increased their spending, but others cut back.