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How Marketing Can Reach Olympic Audiences and Bring Home the Gold

Did you know 85% of Americans consider themselves a fan of the Olympics? Every two years, the massive media event draws in millions of viewers, consuming billions of minutes of coverage – and that’s good news for brand advertising.  

Meredith Cunningham Published: September 13, 2023
How Marketing Can Reach Olympic Audiences and Bring Home the Gold image

What does your brand need to know to bring home the gold? If you’re considering an Olympic sponsorship or alignment for marketing and advertising in 2024, here’s what you need to know to cross the finish line in first place.  

Olympics Fans As Good As Gold 

Olympic athletes train hard to dominate their sport. They learn the game, study the tape, and learn from the best of the best. Brand marketing is no different, as brands must learn about their target audience, do the research, and learn from the insights.  

Understanding customer data and creating persona profiles are two significant steps to take in understanding your audience. When taking these steps, consider the following from MRI Simmons Research: 

Olympic fans are Receptive to and Influenced by TV Ads 

Adults regularly watching the Summer Olympics have a higher-than-average affinity for TV advertising.​

  • 22% agree that TV advertising provides useful information about new products/services ​ 
  • 15% agree that TV advertising provides useful information about bargains ​ 
  • 9% agree that TV advertising is amusing ​ 
  • 7% agree that TV advertising is exciting and gives them something to ​
    talk about ​ 

Olympic Fans Have Disposable Income  

According to Scarborough Research USA+, Olympic fans who have watched the two most recent games on broadcast TV are:​

  • Prestige high-income earners. Mean HH Income is $96k, vs. $88k for the average adult (~+10%)​ 
  • High net worth. Mean Net Worth is $636k, vs. $526k for the average adult (+21%)​ 
  • Making internet purchases, spending an annual average of $865 on items bought online ​ 

 Olympics Viewers Carry the Torch for Digital Ads​ 

Adults who intend to watch the 2024 Summer Olympics are: 

  • 53% more likely than the average adult to have been influenced to shop by banner internet ads in the past three months​ 
  • 15% more likely to have been influenced to shop by video internet ads in the past three months​ 
  • 9% more likely to believe that web/app advertising provides them with helpful information about bargains​ 

Olympic Advertisers Thrive in the Spotlight​ 

The Olympic viewers’ engagement, emotional connection, shared experience, and the event’s global reach make them an attractive audience for digital advertisers. The Olympics embody powerful brand attributes such as “authentic,” “daring,” “distinct,” “fun,” “high-performing,” “prestigious,” and “social.” Therefore, the Olympic brand becomes a magnate for sponsors, drawing them toward the upper-echelon brands. The events also create a strong halo effect for partners, who see a 117% increase in association with Olympic traits among Olympic fans   ​ 

Sponsors also outpace non-Olympic partners within their respective categories by double digits.​ NBCU and BAV group reports that Olympic audiences see:

  • 54% greater differentiation, tied to excitement about a brand ​
  • 49% higher esteem and loyalty​
  • 39% more relevance, a metric tied to market share​ 

Capitalizing on the Olympic opportunity allows brands to effectively leverage the event’s unique qualities to promote their products or services. 

Olympic Sports Marketing Ideas to Help You Get Started 

The key to a winning campaign is aligning your marketing efforts with the excitement and spirit of the Olympics while staying true to your brand’s identity and values. By creating unique and engaging campaigns, you can effectively capture the attention of your target audience and make a lasting impression during this global event. Consider using the following platforms to help your messaging to the masses.  

Broadcast & Streaming: Thanks to its visual and engaging nature, linear broadcast and streaming OTT platforms allow advertisers to create memorable, standout ads that capitalize on the event’s significance. These ads can potentially become part of cultural conversations and even achieve viral status. Here are a few examples.  

Original Content Sponsorship Opportunities: You don’t have to be an official Olympic sponsor to win big in Paris. A content sponsorship can be just as engaging and effective as a Super Bowl ad. WUSA’s Game Day Guru is one example of how a brand can align with sports content through content sponsorship to make meaningful connections in the local community. 

Digital: Complementary to TV and streaming campaigns, digital advertising encompasses a range of online strategies, including banner ads, pre-roll video ads, native ads, social media campaigns, influencer collaborations, and targeted display ads. Digital advertising allows precise targeting, real-time analytics, and the ability to engage with sports fans across various platforms and devices, such as the second screen when looking at their phones during commercial breaks. 

First-Party Data Audience Targeting: As the industry moves away from using third-party cookies to target audiences, tap into the power of first-party targeting with a solution like TEGNA AudienceOne. Using real audience data to drive campaign success, using first-party data will help connect you to an Olympics-interested audience, driving better business outcomes.  

Proving the Power of Your Olympic Investment 

The Olympics are a significant platform to reach consumers with inspirational and powerful messaging that audiences crave. But how does a brand create and distribute that messaging? And how does the brand know the messaging is effective?   

Tools like TEGNA Attribution can measure real-world outcomes by connecting TV and OTT viewing habits with engagement metrics, including website visits, reach extension, brand lift, and sales conversions. In other words, you can track real-world actions (website visits, form fills) attributed directly to your Olympic investment. You’ll also have access to data that can provide insights on the impact of different phases of your Olympic schedule – which dayparts, programming, and creative deliver the most results.​ 

Join Team TEGNA for Your Olympics Campaign 

Brands connected and showcased during the Olympics have historically seen significant ROI and elevated their brands to new heights. It’s an invaluable and unique opportunity to connect directly, meaningfully, and emotionally with their existing and prospective customers. Brands looking to align with Olympic content that showcases unity, triumph, and victory can join Team TEGNA in the ultimate game-changing experience that captivates millions of viewers and maximizes brand reach. 

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