The opening ceremonies of the Summer Olympics in Paris are now under two months away. CivicScience has explored insights like the sports Americans plan to watch and the merchandise they are likely to buy, but what of the likely viewers themselves? How do they differentiate from those who are unlikely to follow the games? Here’s what the CivicScience InsightStore™ database reveals about Americans likely to tune into the Paris Olympics this summer.

The latest data show that 49% of consumers plan to follow the summer Olympic games at least ‘somewhat’ closely. Among those intending to tune in, cable TV is the top method to tune in at 43%, a percentage that’s risen by three points since March. Thirty-five percent plan to utilize a streaming service including 16% who will watch on Peacock, which will be the first platform to stream every Olympic event live as it happens. This month, Americans are also four points less likely to say they’ll be watching via antenna. 

Gen Z adults are the most likely to plan on watching the games. While cable broadcast is their most common method (29%), nearly a quarter (24%) of Gen Z say they’ll be watching the Olympics through an antenna. Millennials, on the other hand, are the most likely to turn to a streaming platform. In contrast, adults aged 55 and older are the least likely to watch, but those who will are much more inclined to use traditional cable TV broadcasts than their younger counterparts.

Weigh in: Are you planning to watch the Paris Summer Olympics?

Comcast, an official partner of Team USA, holds exclusive Olympic media rights in the U.S. through its ownership of NBC. Despite its significant presence, there is still potential for growth. According to CivicScience data, 20% of likely Olympic viewers with a cable subscription use Comcast. This percentage could increase with the introduction of Comcast’s new StreamSaver bundle, which includes subscriptions to Apple TV+, Peacock, and Netflix. Notably, 17% of likely Olympic viewers are interested in signing up for or switching to Comcast because of this bundle, compared to only 2% of those not planning to watch the Olympics.

Americans are traveling to watch the Olympics.

Watching it on a screen is not enough for some Americans. CivicScience polling shows 5% of U.S. adults have already made plans to travel to Paris for the games, while an additional 6% plan to travel but have yet to finish booking their travel. These percentages have the potential to rise as well as a further 7% are considering but aren’t sure yet.* 

Here’s how official Team USA sponsors and partners score with likely viewers.

  • Nearly 1-in-5 likely viewers (18%) say they plan to fly on Delta Airlines in the next six months, compared to 10% of non-viewers.
  • Those likely to watch the Olympics are more likely to enjoy Toyota cars (60%) and Coca-Cola (57%) than non-viewers (49% and 46%, respectively). 
  • More than half (54%) of consumers planning to watch the Paris Olympics report having a Visa credit card, six points higher than those unlikely to tune in. 

Olympics viewers are more likely to shop specialty chains or local for athletic apparel.

Potential Olympic Games viewers have already offered some of their plans and motivations for buying Olympic gear, but where do they typically purchase athletic gear they might see the Olympians sporting for themselves? 

New CivicScience data show that although there are some similarities between where viewers and non-viewers shop for athletic apparel, viewers are more than three times as likely to shop at a chain specialty store, such as Dick’s Sporting Goods. Potential viewers are also slightly more likely to turn to a local retailer. Twenty-two percent shop online for athletic apparel and footwear, five points less than those unlikely to watch. 

Take Our Poll: Are you more or less likely to purchase athletic gear for your own use based on what your favorite professional or Olympic athlete wears during their competitions?

The Olympics approach at a time when Americans show a rebounded interest in following sports news (as interest in political news falls). With around 50% of American consumers reporting they’re likely to follow the Paris Olympic games, their distinctive preferences for how they’ll watch, as well as attitudes toward Team USA sponsors, and how they handle shopping for athletics are certainly worth paying attention to and are likely to be felt in the weeks ahead.

Want to go deeper with more insights we don’t publish and see how you can effectively target these Olympic viewers with high-performing advertising? Let’s connect

*n=838 from 05/29/2024