The Thirty-First Olympiad, which starts on August 5 in Rio de Janeiro, will be the first summer games to be held in South America. However, Adobe Digital Insights’ (ADI) latest report, released this week, predicts that although it may be a “Stay Home Olympics” for global travellers, it could provide a huge sales boost for sportswear and equipment manufacturers.
The Stay At Home Olympics?
Brazil is expecting a huge influx of foreign tourists for the 2016 Olympic Games, with some 7.5 million tickets on sale for the 19-day spectacular, which features 42 different sporting events, with 301 gold medals at stake.
However, growth in flight bookings to Rio and surrounding airports in the first six months of this year is much lower than that seen for the 2014 World Cup, also held in Brazil. This despite the Rio Olympics offering twice as many tickets as football’s premier global event, which attracted 6.5 million tourists, the highest number in the country’s history.
The buzz around the Olympics also has some way to go before it catches up with other major global sporting events. A month prior to the opening ceremonies, social buzz for the Rio Olympics is lagging behind that seen for either the 2014 World Cup or the Sochi Winter Games.
One of the challenges facing the games is a concern over the mosquito-borne Zika virus, which is present in Rio de Janeiro. High-profile media coverage and warnings about the virus have resulted in a small number of big athletes pulling out of the event, including golfers Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, and Jordan Spieth, as well as Wimbledon semi-finalist Tomas Berdych.
Sports fans in the U.S. have been four times more likely to voice their concerns about the virus and its impact on the games than Europeans, with almost 20,000 mentions on social media, in comparison to less than 5,000 in second-placed France.
However, as expected with the world’s biggest global sporting event, the excitement around the games is starting to build. The social buzz around Rio picked up in mid-June, but it has yet to match the buzz around the 2014 World Cup. ADI, however, thinks Rio has the potential to be the most social games ever.
U.S. Team Leads The Medal Tables
The U.S. Olympic team is set to win gold when it comes to driving fan engagement, with Great Britain currently in the silver medal position, and Canada in bronze.
U.K. Olympic fans currently top the European medal table when it comes to Rio Olympic social mentions, with close to 145,000 leading up to the games, compared to less than 48,000 for France and Spain. Germany has just over 13,000.
Team USA’s top-performing athlete is Olympic tennis champion Serena Williams, who so far has generated the most buzz of any Olympic hopeful globally, with over 400,000 mentions. Even seven-times U.S. Olympic gold medallist swimmer Michael Phelps has only managed 50,000 mentions.
The highest-placed U.K. athlete is diver Tom Daley, with over 19,000 mentions. Daley is followed by two former Olympic track and field gold medal winners, Mo Farah (with almost 9,500 mentions) and Jessica Ennis-Hill (almost 7,000 mentions). The top-ranked non-U.K. athlete is Dutch road cyclist Tom Dumoulin, who recently won a stage at the Tour De France, and so far has received just over 5,500 mentions.
A Desire to Gear Up
The Rio Olympics could provide a boost in sales by over 80% for summer sports-related sportswear and equipment—a market segment expected to total $158 billion globally in 2016. Winter sport products grew 82% year-on-year in 2014 following the Sochi Winter Games. A similar sales boost for related categories is forecast by ADI, especially for summer sportswear and equipment-related sales from the Rio Olympiad.
About Adobe Digital Insights
Adobe Digital Insights publishes research on digital marketing and other topics of interest to senior marketing and e-commerce executives across industries. Research is based on the analysis of select, anonymous, and aggregated data from more than 5,000 companies worldwide that use the Adobe Digital Marketing Cloud to obtain real-time data and analysis of activity on websites, social media, and advertising.
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