London 2012 Olympics is expected to have more followers than any other in its long and illustrious history. As people spend such active online lives interacting and exchanging news and information on social networking sites, Olympics will be the most talked about topic when the event kicks off this year.
Sixteen years ago, a dedicated website was launched for the Olympics. It offered news, results, photos, and also sold tickets. That was considered as a revolutionary step towards increasing the reach of the Olympics. With the advent of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, the gap between players and fans reduced significantly. The fans became privy to certain details about players’ personal lives also, which did not get coverage in newspapers and traditional media.
In 2012, the buzz has gone a step further. An athletes’ hub has been launched where fans and athletes can directly interact online. Questions can be asked about performance, matches, what is going through the players’ mind, favorites for an event and a wide array of other topics! Real time chats with players is also facilitated.
The coverage journey:
When the Olympics started back in 1890s, the only medium of coverage was newspapers. People waited for days for the news to be reported in the newspapers. In 1936, the Berlin games became renowned for being the first Olympics event to receive radio coverage. Reports, reviews and various other topics were broadcast over the radio. It involved more than 2,500 broadcasters and 28 languages.
The first Olympics to receive television coverage was the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. It was broadcast to more than 40 countries. That was the first time so many people in the world got to view the Olympics, the same time it was going on. It further grew and in 1996, a dedicated website was made live.
Facebook and Twitter took them a step ahead:
Just when everyone thought that communication had reached a saturation point, the rise of Facebook and Twitter completely changed the world. Athletes have accounts of their own through which they personally post private and professional information.
The rise of Facebook and Twitter has increased the awareness people’s awareness about the Olympics. This can be evidenced by the increased TV viewership it has been receiving over the years. In 2000, 3.7 billion people tuned in and it was 3.9 billion in 2004. In 2008, it became 4.3 billion. This half a billion increase in viewership can be attributed to facebook and twitter. But in 2008, Facebook had only 100 million users and twitter, 6 million. Compare it with today’s figures of more than 844 million members for facebook and 140 million twitter users. You can expect the TV viewership to skyrocket.
The sport is the winner:
With increased viewership, sponsors and endorsements will ensure that the players are well cared for and they can concentrate on honing their talents. This will intensify the competition and increase the quality of the game. There is no joy for the athlete if he/she is performing for an empty stand. But this time, it will not be so. You can expect popular players like Roger Federer, Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps, Pau Gasol and so on to have the lion’s share of attention but the others will also hog the limelight. Ultimately, thanks to technology, the sport will be the winner.