Which Olympic Event will be the Next Ratings Medal-Winner?

If Olympic events won medals themselves, figure skating would of course take the winter gold. Across the world it reigns as the most popular event, according to an Ipsos Global Advisor study of 27 nations.

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  • Chris Jackson Senior Vice President, Public Affairs, US
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In the U.S., hockey takes the silver. In Canada those ranks are reversed. Canadians are as excited about hockey as any nation is excited about any event, according to the survey results.

Snowboarding, a relative newcomer that debuted in 1998, comes home with the bronze among U.S. and Canadian respondents. Millennials especially love the fast-paced sport and overall 65% of Americans say that sports like snowboarding and freestyle skiing have added excitement to the Winter Olympics, according to an Ipsos Omnibus survey.

As we head into the 2018 Winter Olympics some of the dominant headlines are arguably coming from the summer sports, as the fallout from the long-standing abuse of USA gymnastics athletes continues. Other topics of note include Russian athletes who won’t be attending and the North Korean competitors who will be taking part. But excitement remains high. Most Americans expressed interest in the games, according to an Ipsos Global Advisor survey. That’s roughly the same level of excitement across the 27 countries surveyed. Interest was predictably much higher in South Korea, where nearly three in four are interested in the event.

In the lead-up to the games, only half of Americans can even correctly identify South Korea as the host nation for these Winter Games. Fully a third “don’t know” according to a recent Ipsos survey with the remaining incorrectly guessing North Korea, Russia or Greece.

Viewership in the U.S. and Canada will continue to fracture across platforms but TV is still the dominant channel for consuming the games. About half of respondents plan to watch (on NBC and CBC networks) and about three in ten plan to watch via internet or mobile devices and tablets. Many of course, will watch on all or a combination of platforms.

“Awareness and interest of the Winter Olympics is lower overall than for the 2016 Summer Olympics,” said Thomas Kelley who works with Ipsos’ TV Dailies data. “But overall, with the Super Bowl and standout sophomore drama This Is Us airing the week leading up to the games, this should be a great month for NBC.”

Maybe, given the success of the recent sport additions the games could look to further expansion. The Omnibus survey also asked about potential new sports to add to the games. Leading the pack was… dog sledding. So maybe we’ll see the mush teams headed to Beijing for the 2022 Winter Olympics.

The author(s)

  • Chris Jackson Senior Vice President, Public Affairs, US

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