COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Fans across the country engaged with and experienced the Sochi 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in numbers never seen before, consuming the Games on multiple platforms, interacting with athletes, and setting records for media consumption. Through platforms of the United States Olympic Committee, NBCUniversal, and the athletes themselves, media engagement of the 2014 Games reached new heights. For instance, content consumption of the Sochi Games on USOC platforms was 21 percent higher than London 2012 and 250 percent higher than Vancouver 2010.
Team USA social media
Social media consumption on Team USA channels accounted for approximately 1.01 billion impressions and 1.24 million #TeamUSA mentions. The USOC tracked social media activity on the Team USA Social Hub, the USOC’s social media platform that combines feeds from U.S. Olympians and Paralympians across Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. The metrics included mentions, likes, shares, photos and interactions across these platforms.
Additionally, the USOC implemented several social “firsts” throughout the Games, such as the launch of its first game, Team USA Pinsanity, which amassed 27,000 Facebook and mobile users who collected more than 187,000 virtual pins; Facebook fan voting for Team USA’s inaugural awards show, the Best of U.S., which will air April 7 on NBCSN; 24-hour social media coverage; impromptu Twitter Q&A’s with U.S. medalists; and #dayinthelife athlete takeovers on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Team USA social platforms by the numbers
The United States was the most active team participating in social media activity at the Olympic Winter Games, logging 22,598 posts across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram during the Games. Canada and Great Britain followed with 15,716 and 9,867 posts respectively.
The U.S. victory over Russia in the men’s ice hockey shootout generated the most tweets per minute during the entire Games at 72,630 TPM.
The most popular @USOlympic tweet during the Games was, “OSHIE! Team USA wins,” which resulted in 10,755 retweets and 8,042 favorites.
The most popular @USParalympics tweet was “WE DID IT! First-ever to win consecutive #Paralympic golds in sled hockey. #USAvsRUS ends 1-0,” which pulled-in 921 retweets and 685 favorites.
A real-time post of Meryl Davis and Charlie White winning gold in ice dancing was the most popular U.S. Olympic Team Facebook post with 131,000 likes; while the most liked U.S. Paralympics Facebook post was also a real-time response about Team USA’s historic sled hockey gold medal win against Russia.
The top-reaching post (via shares and likes) by the U.S. Olympic Team Facebook page was 25 times greater than pages with similar-sized audiences.
The @USOlympic Twitter account amassed 107,028 new followers. As reference, during the London 2012 Games, @USOlympic grew by 50,819.
The Team USA Instagram account gained more than 100,000 new followers.
Several U.S. Olympians experienced immense growth of their individual social platforms, including ice hockey player T.J. Oshie, slopestyle skiing silver medalist Gus Kenworthy and two-time Olympic champion in halfpipe snowboarding Shaun White, who each gained more than 93,000 new followers during the Games. Oshie was the third most-mentioned athlete in the world on Twitter throughout the entire Games, gaining 45,000 followers by the end of the USA versus Russia hockey game and 160,000 followers by the end of the Games.
U.S. Paralympians also grew their personal social media reach, particularly those featured in national advertising campaigns like alpine skiers Alana Nichols and Heath Calhoun; nordic skier Tatyana McFadden; para-snowboarders Amy Purdy and Evan Strong; and sled hockey players Taylor Lipsett and Rico Roman.
TeamUSA.org and the Team USA Road to Sochi mobile and tablet app
TeamUSA.org also performed well, setting record viewership highs over the Sochi Games period. In another first, the USOC utilized an athlete – Olympic figure skating champion Kristi Yamaguchi – as a digital ambassador throughout the Olympic Winter Games, providing hosted in-depth features and behind-the-scenes video coverage. TeamUSA.org also provided live streaming of all Paralympic events and medal ceremonies, and in-depth athlete video features which were also available on demand.
Making its Winter Games debut, the Team USA Road to Sochi mobile and tablet app, bolstered by its iTunes designation as “Best New App” before the Games, notched more than 8.4 million page views. Key features of the app included a “My Team USA” function, which allowed users to build their own roster from all Team USA athletes; in-depth athlete profiles; unique and timely editorial content; and a customized “cheer” button that enabled users to send personal messages to athletes via social media.
TeamUSA.org and the Team USA Road to Sochi mobile and tablet app by the numbers
TeamUSA.org netted 2.9 million unique visitors throughout the Olympic and Paralympic Games and 14.4 million page views.
The Road to Sochi app was downloaded more than 384,000 times, which exceeded downloads of the London 2012 version by 30 percent.
174 Paralympic events were streamed live on TeamUSA.org.
A total of 167 Olympic-themed videos were posted throughout the Games, earning 151,595 views on TeamUSA.org and the Team USA mobile app, while the Team USA YouTube page amassed 2,043,207 total views.
231 Paralympic-themed videos earned 47,116 views on TeamUSA.org and the mobile app, while 261,897 views were recorded on the Team USA YouTube page.
The top-searched Olympians on TeamUSA.org were bronze medalist in team figure skating Gracie Gold, gold medalist in halfpipe snowboarding Kaitlyn Farrington and two-time champion in halfpipe snowboarding Shaun White. Combined, their profiles garnered nearly 100,000 views.
Through the Road to Sochi app, there were more than 24,000 Twitter interactions and more than 54,000 clicks on the “Watch Live Now” link to NBCOlympics.com, which helped promote NBC’s live streams.
The USOC’s broadcast partner, NBCUniversal, also notched viewership records during the Sochi Games. Netting 242.3 million media exposures across its broadcast, cable and digital properties, NBCUniversal reached more Americans via more platforms than any Olympic Winter Games, ever. This unprecedented multiplatform approach included 29 days of programming – 18 Olympic and 11 Paralympic – and 1,500+ hours of coverage on NBC, four cable channels (NBCSN, CNBC, MSNBC and USA Network), NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports Live Extra and NBC Olympics Highlights and Results apps.
In addition, NBC produced the most dominant Olympic Winter Games primetime coverage on record by a broadcast network in viewership, household rating and the adult 18-49 demographic. NBC’s Sochi Olympic Winter Games primetime viewership averaged 21.4 million per night, up 6 percent from the last European-based Winter Games in 2006, and was the No. 1 show on all 18 nights of primetime based on household rating, while Vancouver 2010 was ranked No. 1 for 14 of 17 nights and Torino 2006 was No. 1 for 8 of 17 nights. Ratings and viewership also increased for NBC News and affiliate news programming throughout the Games, including TODAY and NBC Nightly News, which were the No. 1 ranked morning show and evening news program, respectively, during both weeks of the Games.
Providing an unprecedented 50 coverage hours of the Paralympic Winter Games, NBC Olympics reached nearly 4 million viewers across both NBC and NBCSN. This was up roughly 180 percent from the 1.4 million who watched NBC Olympics’ 5.5 total hours of Paralympic coverage of the London 2012 Games.