Posted by Joe Kinchin,
Apr 16, 2012
With just over 100 days left until our capital lifts the curtain on the 2012 Olympic Games, I thought it would be a good idea to see how people will be watching the Olympics this Summer.
If recent stories (and personal experience) are anything to go by, one can assume that a lot won’t be watching the games in the actual stadiums. So where will people be watching the Olympics over the summer? In terms of location this could be any number of places, for instance my family will be hosting a few Olympic BBQ’s with the TV on in the background. Others will be heading off to some of the Olympic TV screens in London’s parks, to indulge in some of the atmosphere and some will join in with the hordes of crowds packing out bars to cheer Chris Hoy and company on to gold.
Regarding the actual channels that are covering the Olympics, your options are far more limited. The BBC will be covering the event day and night meaning rival broadcasters are preparing themselves for a dip in impacts during July. If Sue barker, Colin Jackson and Michael Johnson don’t cut it for you then you’ll have to switch over to British Eurosport (assuming you’ve paid for the correct Sky or Virgin package). Although this channel normally has a somewhat niche profile, come the Olympics it will be showing an all-encompassing selection of sports. The channel served me well during a summer in Barcelona where I unfortunately spilt Sangria down a customer whilst watching Michael Phelps win his 8th gold medal. However as is the case with most sport on TV the success of the ratings will largely depend upon the performance of our nations athletes, which staggeringly could actually be pretty good. What is more, is that there will be no staying up until 2am or waking up at 6am to watch the live events, this year’s Olympics will be more or less catered to the UK public’s schedule meaning the allure of watching live action should inevitably lead to more ratings.
In terms of viewing the Olympics online the story is a somewhat similar one. The rights around any Olympic content being shown on the internet are impressively strict with the BBC and Eurosport websites being the only UK broadcasters able to show any content. The two websites along with BBC iPlayer will inevitably see significant rises in traffic over the period, however Sky Sports news will most likely see upsurges both in TV ratings and website traffic as its special Olympic report will cater for its loyal consumers seeking extra news. Much like last time around, expect to see clips uploaded onto YouTube, only to be taken down swiftly.
The rise of social media over the last 4 years will clearly add another aspect to the Olympic experience this year. The relationship between sport and social media was fantastically demonstrated in this year’s Super Bowl with the world record for the amount of tweets in a second broken twice. The first came in Madonna’s half time performance and the second at the very end of the match, my own prediction is that #ldn2012 and #ubolt will be breaking similar records. As we have seen before on TV, these social media buzzes will in turn create a drive back to live viewing as people do not wish to miss out on the real time experience of watching and discussing the Games over Social media platforms.
Needless to say if you don’t wish to watch any coverage of the Olympics and are hell bent on avoiding the ahem… “massive waste of tax payers’ money”…. then you will also need to avoid picking up any newspapers as they will have the Olympics story dominating both sides seeing as it’s not often that press has an advantage over TV and online these days.