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Surprising Olympics Social Media Driver? Water Polo

The XXX Olympiad is being called the "first social media Olympics." While I don’t agree with the moniker, more attention is being paid to both the social media aspects of the Games and the availability of content as never before.

The members of the Schwartz MSL Research & Insights Group are die-hard Olympics fans. I remember staying up and watching wrestling at 1:00 a.m. for previous Olympics. The breadth of coverage has been great this year – my two sons and I loved watching the women’s foil matches on Saturday afternoon.

As the Olympics approached, we wanted to see – with the democratization of the Olympics through social media, are once niche sports letting their fans and followers communicate as never before?

The answer seems to be a resounding "yes." While swimming and gymnastics continue their dominance (69% share of voice), over the past three days, the other two most discussed sports were water polo and beach volleyball. Although it must be noted, discussion of these events spiked right after they aired on the main NBC broadcasts, showing the power of the network’s spotlight.

Don’t believe me? See for yourself…


Most of the conversations for some of the niche sports revolved around people commenting on how cool it was, how surprising they were to watch and how tough the athletes were. There were quite a few jokes as well. When it came to the “majors” more discussion was around the results.



Note: Schwartz MSL used Radian 6 to analyze the social media discussions across Twitter, blogs and other channels since the opening ceremony. We used common event names, plus permutations (i.e. swimming included event types as well as Phelps and Lochte). We only looked at social media in English and the topic spread may well be different in different countries of the world.

What do you think about social media and the Olympics so far?

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Mark McClennan

Mark McClennan

Senior Vice President at MSLGROUP

For the past 20 years, Mark has led teams working with innovative technology and healthcare clients for MSLGROUP. He is also the national chair-elect for PRSA.

Mark McClennan

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