Advertisers doing backflips over Olympic Trial ratings.
Pre-2008, most people probably wouldn’t have given a second thought to watching the Olympic Team Trials. Who wants to watch a race that doesn’t end with a medal ceremony? However, due to the overwhelming popularity of certain events in the ’08 Olympics, this year’s Team Trial ratings are proving to be an advertiser’s dream. So, how did the Beijing Olympics influence this year’s ratings?
Let’s recall Michael Phelps winning a staggering eight gold medals. Eight! That’s more medals than some countries won. And this new-found rivalry with fellow American Ryan Lochte has made the swimming trials whirlwind spectacles. The tenacity and passion they bring to the pool is unwavering and inspiring. You better believe people will be tuning in to watch these two battle it out in the water. Here is a pretty electrifying reminder of Michael Phelps’ 2008 road to glory.
Remember the sensational performances by Shawn Johnson and Nastia Liukin in the women’s gymnastics finals in 2008? Both athletes brought home a medley of gold and silver in stellar fashion. Their individual all-around performances were layered with discipline and determination. Recently, legendary coach Bela Karolyi basically guaranteed the U.S. women’s gymnastics team – comprised of a completely new group of faces compared to ’08 – a gold medal, which only adds to the excitement and intrigue of the London Olympics.
Another brilliant team to remember is the U.S. women’s national soccer team. After winning the gold medal in Beijing, they are coming off a bitter defeat to Japan in the World Cup finals last summer. Despite losing, the USWNT has inspired a country of, well, soccer haters. Individuals who have never watched a match were suddenly overcome with soccer fever after seeing the grit and perseverance of these women. Fortunately, the team showed outstanding resilience was able to shake off the loss. They have had quite a successful pre-Olympic run, winning 15 of 16 matches between January and July, and seem to be more than ready to put on a show in London.
The best explanation for the massive increase in the Olympic Team Trial ratings is that America is still riding the wave of excitement from 2008, and this has increased the anticipation for the opening of the games on July 27th. According to Nielsen fast national ratings, the track and field, swimming, and women’s gymnastics trials averaged 7.87 million viewers and a 2.3 rating in the adults 18 to 49 demographic on NBC on July 1. That’s a 65% improvement in the target demo compared to the 2008 women’s gymnastics trials. America is excited to see another phenomenal show from the athletes in these events.
These lofty ratings are helping not only NBC, but also advertisers who are making a strong push out of the gates this Olympic season. By starting their campaigns during the team trials, advertisers can build brand recognition before the actual games begin. This added value during the trials is also helping with social media campaigns, as most companies are opting for audience engagement based around leading healthier lives. Ironically, Coca-Cola and McDonald’s are two such companies. By building brand awareness before the games begin, advertisers’ campaigns have a chance to be even more successful during them.
The ratings for the Olympic Team Trials could translate into huge ratings for the actual games, and advertisers are smiling. When it comes to national pride, there aren’t too many countries with better fans than the United States, and they’ll be watching. With the thrill of global competition everywhere you look, it’s tough not to start chanting, “USA! USA!”