For brands seeking to engage Olympics fans, a new survey also sheds positive light onto the dramatically shifting behaviors of sports fans and provides a marketing roadmap for reaching the always on, digitally connected Olympics fan. Consider just these four insights from the survey released this week:

  1. Rio de Janiero Will Be the First Truly 24/7, "Always On" Olympics. No one television station or online outlet will control the narrative or the audience as fans turn to live blogs, mobile video, sports websites and social media for real-time updates and post event highlights. Most sports fans plan to follow the Olympics online with more than 4 out of 10 also planning to cut the cord and watch events live streaming online. The rise of the “always on” sports fan enables content consumption at any time, on any device from a near infinite number of content sources. The most time constrained sports fans -- young parents -- are consuming sports videos every day online and will be looking for shorter highlight clips throughout the Olympics rather than sitting through full-length programming.
  1. Millennials are Leading the Digital Pack. Highly coveted Millennial audiences are turning away from television and to digital outlets for their Olympics content.  They are twice as likely to consume Olympics content on their mobile device (71% v. 31%) and nearly 8 out of 10 (79%) will cut the television cord to watch the Olympics live online.
  1. Second Screen Presents a Second Chance for Gold.  As television advertising for the Olympics reaches a premium, 57% of Olympic followers note they will have a second screen open when watching the Olympics. And Millennial Olympic fans are more than twice as likely to have a second screen open “most or all of the time” compared to non-Millennials (82% vs. 48%).
  1. The Ideal Digital Consumer: Higher Income + Higher Propensity for Online Purchasing: 57% of Olympic followers have an annual household income above $50K (vs. 32% for non-followers) and they are more than twice as likely to make purchases online weekly (32% vs. 15%).

The results of the consumer survey only highlight what anecdotally many have seen first hand in the run up to the Summer Games -- this year’s Olympics represent the first time the Games have truly become a 24/7 experience.  The way in which sports fans plan to consume Olympics content will undergo dramatic change as mobile and online video draw millions of eyeballs away from traditional television and open new opportunities for both content creators and advertisers with hundreds of millions of connected “always on” sports fans just as likely to watch an event on television as they are to stream a game online from work or watch a highlight clip on their mobile device from the road.

Both advertisers and publishers have an opportunity to leverage the shifting behaviors of sports fans and go for the gold by creating compelling content and targeted advertising for audiences that are seeking deeper connectivity in real time with the games, athletes, scores and cultural news related to the world’s largest sporting event.

The opinions and points of view expressed in this commentary are exclusively the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of management or associated bloggers.