Report: Olympic Equality Big Opportunity for Sponsors

Andy Berg Headshot

While media coverage of sports is normally incredibly lopsided in favor of men’s sports, the Olympics are a different story.

According to a new report from Nielsen, coverage and interest in men’s and women’s Olympics is pretty balanced, offering sponsors and advertisers an unparalleled opportunity to reach a broad audience.

The report found that the Summer Olympics overall saw an average interest rate of 47 percent, with interest in men’s Olympic events at 48 percent, and interest in women’s events at 45 percent.

Nielsen suggests that brands pay attention to his high and balanced interest.

“The balanced nature of the Olympic audience hasn’t gone unnoticed among brands, as many have tailored their campaigns to be inclusive and meaningful for a broader base of viewers,” the report notes. “Procter & Gamble’s “Thank You Mom” and “Lead with Love” campaigns, for example, tap into the emotion of the games by highlighting the support that families provide to aspiring athletes, as well as the caring side of the competitors.”

The balanced interest in the Olympics varies greatly from how fans engage with individual sports during non-Olympic competition.

For example, Nielsen found that 55 percent of fans were interested in both men’s and women’s gymnastics, but only 14 percent said they were interested in men’s only, while 31 percent said they were interested in women’s only.

That equation flips dramatically when talking about basketball and soccer. About 40 percent of fans said they were interested in both men’s and women’s basketball, while 52 percent said they were only interested in men’s basketball, and 9 percent said they were only interested in women’s basketball.

Soccer was a similar story, with 36 percent saying they’re interested in both men’s and women’s competition, but 57 percent saying they’re only interested in men’s soccer, and 7 percent saying they’re only interested in women’s soccer.

“Given the global spotlight on the Olympics, the games present women with the greatest opportunity to gain worldwide recognition and stardom among both sports fans and the general population,” Nielsen notes. “Importantly, marketers looking to associate with these athletes don’t need to wait for the medal ceremonies to know which stars will be the most effective brand ambassadors. That’s because Nielsen Gracenote’s medal winner predictions and Nielsen Sports’ valuation of athletes’ partnerships with brands across social media in the lead up to the games provides critical insight into sponsorship potential.”

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