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Millennials Have Some Pretty Strong Opinions About the Olympics
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Millennials Have Some Pretty Strong Opinions About the Olympics

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The medal count is rising, but are you tuning into the Olympics? Turns out, Millennials are foregoing streaming services and social media for the most part and tuning in to watch the Games the old-fashioned way—on TV. We surveyed 3,992 US Millennial women to find out how they plan to engage with the biggest international sporting event of the year–the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Despite the controversy facing the Rio Olympics, 54% of American Millennial women plan to tune in. This survey reveals everything from the sports these women are most looking forward to watching, to their thoughts on the controversies surrounding the games, and the Team USA Olympians they follow on social media. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and NBCUniversal can expect a record­setting year with the Rio Olympics beating the 2012 London Olympics as the most­watched event in US history.

Despite the decline in live TV viewing amongst Gen Y, 75% of Millennial women plan to watch the Olympics on TV. A surprising 18% of Millennial women will be watching the Olympics through live streaming on NBCOlympics.com, while a staggering 75% will be tuning into the games on TV. The biggest motivation for them is supporting Team USA (51%), followed by their love of watching live sports (46%), wanting to be in­ the ­know since it’s a major world event (37%), watching the opening and closing ceremonies (33%), the easy­-to-­follow programming of the event (19%), and supporting their favorite athletes (18%).

When it comes to live programming, 71% of Millennial women plan to watch more live events than previous Olympic seasons because the USA and Rio are in similar time zones. 

Millennial women are optimistic: They predict Team USA will bring home 101-110 Olympic medals even though forecasts suggest we’ll rake in 98 medals this year. After being shown Team USA’s past Olympic medal counts (2012: 104 medals; 2008: 110 medals; 2004: 103 medals) and being asked to guess the number of medals they think that we’d win this year, Millennial women guessed that we’d hit a similar range of medal count as in 2012. However, researchers from Rheinisch­Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung predict that USA will win 98 medals this year.

Notably, artistic gymnastics (50%) ranks first among the top ten Olympic sports that Millennial women are most excited to watch. Swimming (44%) is unabashedly the runner­up, followed by rhythmic gymnastics (39%), diving (34%), trampoline gymnastics (30%), beach volleyball (26%), volleyball (19%), basketball (16%), synchronized swimming (14%), and football (13%). 88% of Millennial women reveal that they’re more likely to watch sports that Team USA is competitive in and 61% of them are more interested in watching female athletes compete in certain sports more than others.

94% of millennial women think that Olympic athletes dope. With all the headlines that Rio has been making in recent months, we asked Millennial women what they thought of the most current and controversial issues surrounding the Olympics. While 57% of them were concerned about the super bacteria and sewage found in bodies of water where water sporting events will be held, 56% are concerned about safety at the Olympics, and 61% agree with the ban on the Russian Track and Field team from competing in the Olympics after failing doping tests. 48% of Millennial women were concerned about the Zika virus in Rio. Even more startlingly, 94% of Millennial women think that Olympic athletes dope. Of this group of Millennial women, 30% of them think that 1­-19% of Olympic athletes dope, 34% of them think that 20­39% of athletes dope, 19% of them think that 40­-59% athletes dope, 7% of them think that 60­-79% athletes dope, 1% of them think that 80­-99% athletes dope, and 2% of them think that 100% athletes dope in the Olympics.

Looking forward to the 2024 Summer Olympics, almost half of Millennial women would like the games to return to the US. Of the four candidate cities bidding to host the 2024 Summer Olympics, Millennial women want the event to be held at Los Angeles in USA the most (44%), followed by Rome in Italy (19%), Paris in France (11%), and Budapest in Hungary (8%). 19% of them were indifferent.

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