Vancouver Olympics and social media buzz

Posted on February 28, 2010


The Nielsen Company measured online buzz around Olympic athletes and found that skiers Lindsey Vonn (U.S.) and Alexandre Bilodeau (Canada) are the most discussed gold medal athletes for their respective countries. Since the Olympics are still in progress, this may change given the men’s final hockey game pitting the US against Canada for the gold medal.
Nielsen compared online buzz surrounding gold medal winners in both the United States and Canada by using data from the company’s database.  Basically, they are continually looking at consumer-created online content in the form of blog posts, blog comments, board/forum discussions and threads, group activity, selected
Twitter feeds, citations/links to YouTube videos and news stories.

For avid watchers of these Olympic Winter Games, it might come as a bit of a surprise that Lindsey Vonn’s buzz has dominated another fan favorite, snowboarder Shaun White, by more than a 10% margin.  Likely driving these statistics is the controversy between Vonn and American ski rival Julia Mancuso. To review, Mancuso had been prevented from completing her slalom run when Vonn had crashed into a fence causing her to remain on the course.  In the meantime, officials had given Mancuso a green light to begin her ski run.  In order to avoid a person-on-person accident, officials stopped Mancuso from completing her run, which had been on pace to finish in the top 3 or 4 of the day. “Do over’s” are not productive in skiing and this proved to be the case when Mancuso did a new run which resulted in her finishing 18th for the day. All that drama seemed to overshadow the high volume of buzz occurring over White’s incredible Double McTwist trick.  Hence, this probably led to the 10% gap in social media buzz being reported between Vonn and White.

Overall, the Vancouver Olympics has created a great deal of buzz on social networks and changed the way in which the public views sporting events. Regardless of the outcome of the US versus Canada gold medal hockey game, there is undoubtedly more Olympic buzz on the way. And, let’s not forget, there will be post Olympic buzz as athletes grant interviews, return to their homeland, and work with sponsors.

Posted in: social media, Sports