Winter Games 2018 Impact Report

Feb 27, 2018

Over the past few weeks, audiences around the world have turned attention to the Winter Games in PyeongChang. As TV viewing habits continue to evolve, the Games also adapted to expand the opportunities for audiences to see and engage with related content. With over 2400 hours on linear television, NBC aired the most footage in the history of the Games this year. While the Games – and sports in general – are historically a traditional TV powerhouse, NBC also expanded its coverage this year to include digital and social initiatives, like a dedicated Snapchat Discover channel for live coverage from the Games. Audiences used digital platforms to engage with athletes, teams, and advertisers throughout the games truly creating a multi-screen experience. 4C monitored the athletes, sponsors, and countries that generated the most buzz across screens.

Social media engagements during the Winter Games

The official Twitter and Facebook handles for NBC’s coverage of the Games amassed over 1.7 million engagements throughout the games, with the IOC’s handles garnering over 800,000 themselves.  European networks BBC Sport and Eurosport saw over 700,000 and 59,000 respectively. With nearly 900,000 engagements over the course of the games, Team USA was the most socially engaged – more than double that of 2nd place Canada. Although she was not able to repeat her 2010 gold medal win, US alpine skier Lindsey Vonn was the most socially engaged athlete during the games. A close second was Adam Rippon, the US figure skater whose tweets, interviews, and comments regarding Vice President Mike Pence took the internet by storm throughout the games.

Athletes and teams weren’t the only ones getting in on social engagement. Brands were also leveraging the event to reach audiences across screens – many of which saw quite the payoff in the form of audience engagement. BMW was the most socially engaged official sponsor throughout the Games, with over 204,000 engagements.

Social engagement lift for brands sponsoring the Winter Games

While brands like BMW and Intel saw the greatest number of total engagements throughout the Games, Bridgestone and Coca-Cola were the official sponsors that had the greatest lift in engagement during the games as compared to the previous two weeks.

Social engagement lift for brands after sponsored athletes' big moments

Several brands also saw a lift in engagement following a strong performance by a sponsored athlete. Burton Snowboards and Toyota, sponsors of gold medalists Shaun White and Chloe Kim, respectively, saw 824% and 574% lifts in social media engagement on the day following White and Kim’s golds for the men’s and women’s halfpipe.

The good news for brands is that it’s not necessary to wait another four years to sponsor the next Winter Games. Other sport event-related sponsorships can also positively impact brand engagement. Under Armour, which sponsors the Golden State Warriors’ Steph Curry and New England Patriots’ Tom Brady, saw a 50% increase in engagement following the Warriors 2017 NBA Finals win and a 264% increase the day after the Patriots’ Super Bowl LII appearance.

TV viewership data shows who watched the games and what else they were likely to watch

Our partners at Inscape provided data from their connected Smart TVs to uncover habits of US Winter Games’ viewers. The states with the most viewers were in the western part of the country, with Colorado and Montana having the highest concentration. Inscape’s data also shows that people who watched the Winter Games stayed tuned in to NBC during other programming: the top five shows that they were most likely to watch all also aired on the network.

Up next on the world’s stage is this summer’s World Cup in Russia. In the meantime, we’ll be monitoring chatter around sports, pop-culture, and politics around the world. Stay tuned for more Impact Reports, and subscribe to our newsletter to get updates in your inbox.