Bring Home The Gold: The Impact of the 2016 Game

Despite ongoing challenges with TV ratings the Olympics generated a consistently high amount of conversation volume among US fans throughout the games. With the conclusion of the Olympics on Sunday evening, we took a look at the top trends driving conversation volume as well as the impact on the companies and sponsors most closely associated with the games in the US.
Online Attention Consistent for the Olympics
The summer Olympics saw an array of topics generating online buzz from the Russian doping scandal, to world records, to the U.S. swim team controversy. The chart below highlights the trends that captured the largest share of online conversations during the games. As previously reported, the initial Olympic audience skewed 65% male ages 25–44. While the age breakout did not change, we did see a slight shift in gender distribution as the games advanced. The Olympic discussion continued to be lead by men (59%) but women talking about the events increased by 14%.


NBC Finds New Audiences for the Games
Prior to the summer games the audience of people talking about NBC online was made up of largely a male demographic ages 34–44. This could be attributed to the network’s other sports driven programming, including the NHL finals. NBC saw a significant shift in gender during the Olympics with 43% of viewers being female, as compared to 6% before. We expected to see a more significant shift in sentiment due to the anecdotally large amount of complaints around broadcast delays and coverage timing, however, online sentiment for the brand remained unchanged throughout the Olympics.

Ralph Lauren Takes Home the Sponsor Gold?
Based on relative impact, US apparel sponsor, Ralph Lauren appeared to be the big winner at this year’s games. Their Olympics affiliation drove a 158% conversation volume lift vs. previous months. We compared their volume trends to Under Armour, a high profile sponsor of Olympic athletes and advertiser (although not an official Olympic sponsor). We saw that while Under Armour benefitted with regard to online conversation volume around their Olympic athletes, they saw much higher relative volume surrounding their relationship with Steph Curry and the NBA. Ralph Lauren, with less overall big name athlete endorsements, saw a higher relative impact from the Olympics.
We also looked at affinity score, to see which companies Olympics fans were most likely to be talking about online over the past several weeks. We saw several official and unofficial Olympic sponsors topping the charts including Reebok, Under Armour, Nike, and Adidas.



Social media platforms, blogs, and other online commenting tools have allowed large tentpole events like the Olympics to take on a new life online. We believe the sheer volume of this data available presents exciting opportunities to uncover both intuitive and non-intuitive insights about the impact of these types of events on both people and brands. Stay tuned for more ongoing analysis of events and people driving the online conversation. As always, for a hands-on look at our real time data, visit Taykey Trend Pulse.