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Baltimore has Olympic fever

According to an article in the Baltimore Sun today, having Maryland residents Katie Hoff and Michael Phelps in the thick of the medal race in Beijing has put droves of Baltimoreans in front of the tube.

The article references Nielsen ratings of Olympic viewership that put Baltimore as the top market with a quarter (25.2 share), or 275,000 households, have been watching the primetime games via the NBC affiliate WBAL-TV Channel 11.

All of that TV viewership has no doubt leaked over to the worldwide web, where NBC and its affiliates are offering up a host of viewing options.

For companies and other entities worried about loss of productivity and bandwidth crunch, there is Annapolis-based eTelemetry. The company’s Metron 2.0 technology blocks and filters Web sites and also lets the boss know who’s doing what and what sites the employees have been going to.

Howard County, which has received a lot of attention over the whole four-day work week thing, uses Metron in an apparent bid to make sure those days worked don’t include watching the women’s beach volleyball team run roughshod over the competition.

Do companies need to rein in online Olympic fever? Or, as with many places, should they chock it up to a passing morale booster like the bracketology of March Madness time or the armchair coaches tweaking their fantasy football roster?

BEN MOOK, Assistant Business Editor