As the 2012 Olympics approach, we decided to get a read on American interest and understand what are the most memorable moments from Olympics past. In June 2012, we asked 400 US Rep Adults a series of questions related to their attitudes and recollections of the Olympics.
This year, 32% of Males and 35% of Females said that they will Definitely Watch at least some of the 2012 Olympics while another 31% of Males and 28% of Females said that they Probably Would Watch. Less than 10% of both groups said that they Definitely Would Not Watch. By comparison, 67% of Men and 63% of Women said that they watched at least some of the 2008 Olympics in China. This indicates a roughly similar level of interest between the 2012 and 2008 games.
When asked to select their Top 3 favorite sporting events among a group of professional and international choices, the Olympics was the event chosen most often among Women (53%). The games tied with the MLB World Series for second favorite among Men More(27%), behind only the Super Bowl (52%). What was the least favorite sporting among American adults? Answer: The NHL All-Star game (2%).
Women viewers of the Olympics cite Gymnastics (28%), Swimming (21%) and Figure Skating (15%) are their favorite sports to watch. For Men, the interest was more evenly dispersed across the various events. Men chose Swimming as their favorite event (15%) followed by Track & Field (13%) and Basketball (10%).
The most popular athletes were: Michael Phelps (20%), Jesse Owens (7%), Mary Lou Retton (6%) and Mark Spitz (6%). Michelle Kwan was the other Female athlete mentioned (3%). Not surprisingly, when asked to name their favorite Olympic athlete of all time, the top winners were primarily from the sports that Americans most enjoyed watching: Swimming, Gymnastics and Track & Field. Also, of the Top 10 names given, 8 of the 10 were Males and ALL of the names mentioned were American athletes.
For those Olympic athletes who also compete professionally, their appeal as a pro athlete can create a positive halo on their reputation as an Olympic competitor. For example, Michael Jordan was the only member of a team sport that was mentioned as a favorite Olympian and Lance Armstrong was mentioned despite never winning an Olympic event (finished 14th in the 1992 Barcelona Games and 3rd in the 2000 Games in Sydney).
Given the significance and global viewership of the Olympics, it has become a major marketing vehicles for Advertisers. A Kantar Media report calculated that companies spent $977 Million in advertising in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. When we asked Americans which companies they recall sponsoring the Olympics, Coca Cola was mentioned by over 1/3 of respondents (36%) and more than twice the mentions of Nike, the second place brand (18%). Visa (17%), McDonalds (12%) and Pepsi (8%) rounded out the Top 5. P&G which has started its Olympic sponsorship at the 2010 Vancouver games with their ‘Proud Sponsor of Moms’ campaign was just outside the Top 5 most recalled sponsors with 7% awareness.
Source: Front Porch Research online survey of 400 US Rep Adults . July 26, 2012.