Insights from Olympics Opening Weekend

Despite disappointing ratings on Friday night for the Olympics opening ceremony, we saw a surge in conversation volume around the games that peaked on Saturday as a broad array of events kicked-off. In fact, online conversation volume for the games surpassed this year’s Super Bowl by about 7%. Swimming was one of the most talked about events, generating a number of trends including Katinka Hosszu’s record setting victory. Negative trends were focused primarily on the aftermath of the doping scandal as well as soccer legend, Pelé, withdrawing from the opening ceremony.

The initial audience of people talking about the Olympics skewed 65% male and nearly half were 25-44. Of course, there was some variation by individual trends and sports and we expect to see more patterns emerge in the coming week.

To gauge what this audience of Olympics fans was most excited about we looked at the most talked about athletes and countries by both raw volume (shown below as an indexed ranking) as well as an affinity score, showing the degree to which Olympics fans were more likely to be talking about these topics. By this measure soccer and swimming were clearly some of the most anticipated sports. Soccer players Neymar of Brazil and Hope Solo from the US were the most talked about soccer players and Michael Phelps and Mireia Belmonte clearly had the attention of Olympic swimming fans. Tennis player, Rafael Nadal, was also a top mentioned athlete with regard to both volume and affinity.
We saw conversation volume surrounding specific countries surge for a number of reasons—many were specific to competitions occurring over the weekend. The tiny island nation of Tonga also gained unexpected visibility after online fans began buzzing about their shirtless flag bearer, Pita Taufatofua, during the opening ceremony.

Make sure to watch our blog for additional insights throughout the games. You can also view real time Olympic trends on our website via Taykey Trend Pulse.