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Fan Engagement Through Social Digital Broadcast Platforms Reached New Heights During Rio 2016 Olympic And Paralympic Games

By United States Olympic Committee | Sept. 21, 2016, 2:30 p.m. (ET)

(L-R) Aly Raisman, Laurie Hernandez, Simone Biles and Madison Kocian pose for a photo in front of a Twitter mirror at USA House at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Team USA fans around the world engaged with and experienced the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic 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 2016 Games reached new heights. 

Team USA social media platforms
Social media consumption on Team USA channels (those run by the USOC) accounted for nearly 1 billion impressions thanks in part to more than 220 posts per day on average during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. This resulted in a significant growth in social driven by strong content that was shared widely by Team USA fans and engagement with influencers. 

By the numbers: Team USA social media platforms

  • Among National Olympic Committees, Team USA was the most active team participating on social media during the Olympic Games, generating 33.5 million digital engagements across all major platforms. Great Britain and Brazil followed with 16.0 million and 6.4 million, respectively.
  • During the Olympic Games, Team USA ranked No. 3 among the top-200 U.S. sports franchises for digital engagement, following NBC Olympics (No. 1) and the Olympics (No. 2), respectively. Meanwhile, Team USA ranked No. 6 among 300+ global sports franchises and No. 11 among 800 major consumer brands.
  • Across social and digital platforms during the Olympics, Team USA accumulated 69.3 million video views.
  • The U.S. men’s victory in the 4x100-meter freestyle generated the most tweets per minute during the entire Games at 5,900 TPM.
  • The most popular Team USA social post during the Games was an infographic on 23-time Olympic swimming champion Michael Phelps, which resulted in 124,516 likes, 1,673 comments and 40,643 shares on Facebook, and 29,739 likes and 20,136 retweets on Twitter. 
  • The most popular @USParalympics tweet was, “And that's the game! The men's @NWBA team takes a W in their first #Rio2016 game!” which pulled-in 222 retweets and 718 favorites.
  • Team USA social platforms amassed 825,334 new followers during the four-week windows of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Individual social media platforms
The USOC digital team also monitored social feeds from U.S. Olympians, Paralympians, sponsors and influencers across all social platforms. The metrics included mentions, likes, shares, photos and interactions, which were monitored by ListenFirst and CrowdTangle.

By the numbers: individual social media platforms

  • Several U.S. Olympians and Paralympians experienced immense growth on their individual social platforms, led by Simone Biles (gymnastics), Michael Phelps (swimming), Aly Raisman (gymnastics) and Laurie Hernandez (gymnastics), who gained more than 1 million followers each. 
  • Biles sits atop all Olympic athletes from all countries as the most retweeted athlete during the Games, with four of her tweets in the top 10, including the No. 1 tweet of her with actor Zac Efron. 
  • U.S. Paralympians also grew their personal social media reach by 6.7 percent during the Paralympic Games.
  • There were 220 social posts from influencers that resulted in 208.8 million impressions throughout the Rio Games including: President Barack Obama, Zac Efron, Samuel L. Jackson, Leslie Jones, Katy Perry, Kim Kardashian West, and major sports leagues and franchises.
  • Team USA sponsors added more than 4.3 million social media followers during the Games.

TeamUSA.org had record-setting viewership over the Rio Olympic Games period, which was highlighted by a 72 percent increase in page views from the London Games, and a 211 percent increase in unique visitors over the London Games. TeamUSA.org also provided a robust and record-setting amount of coverage for the Rio Paralympic Games.

By the numbers: TeamUSA.org 

  • TeamUSA.org netted 7.8 million unique visitors throughout the Rio Olympic Games. This marks a 211 percent increase over the London 2012 Olympic Games, and a 66 percent increase over the combined total from the London and Sochi Games. 
  • Across all of Team USA’s platforms, 973 Olympic-themed videos were posted, earning 69.3 million views.
  • The Team USA Mobile App, presented by Smucker’s had more than 5 million page views during the Rio Olympic Games. 
  • More than 3.1 million minutes of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games was consumed on TeamUSA.org, which was a 1,583 percent increase from the Sochi Games.  
  • TeamUSA.org produced 462 Paralympic-themed videos, earning a combined 10.2 million views across all social and digital platforms for Team USA and U.S. Paralympic accounts.
  • The three top-searched Olympians on TeamUSA.org were:
    1. Five-time gymnastics medalist Simone Biles
    2. Boxing gold medalist Claressa Shields
    3. Gymnastics gold medalist Gabby Douglas
  • TeamUSA.org’s top-searched Paralympians:
    1. Three-time swimming gold medalist McKenzie Coan
    2. Four-time swimming medalist Rebecca Meyers
    3. Four-time swimming medalist Michelle Konkoly

NBCUniversal platforms
The USOC’s media partner, NBCUniversal, tabbed the Rio 2016 Olympic Games as the most successful event in media history thanks to numerous records and milestones, and an unprecedented 6,755 hours of programming across NBCU TV and digital platforms. 

The Total Audience Delivery for the 15 competition nights of the Rio Games averaged 27.5 million viewers, which ranked as the second-highest average audience on record for the primetime competition coverage for any non-domestic Olympic Games. In addition, primetime viewership in the adult 18-34 demographic was nearly five times higher (382 percent) than the average of the four broadcast networks this past TV season.

Ratings and viewership also increased for NBC News and affiliate news programming throughout the Rio Olympic Games, including TODAY and NBC Nightly News, which were the No. 1 ranked morning show and evening news program among 18-34 adults during both weeks of the Games. Access Hollywood viewership nearly tripled viewership with 18-49 adults compared to the month prior.

NBC Olympics’ unprecedented digital coverage resulted in nearly 50 million viewers streaming an estimated 3.4 billion minutes on web, mobile and connected devices. There were 100 million unique and 222 million visits to NBC Olympics, up 29 percent and 44 percent, from London 2012. 

Providing a record-setting 70 hours of television coverage, NBC Olympics’ presentation of the 2016 Paralympic Games reached more than 7.8 million viewers on NBC and NBCSN, up 359 percent from NBC Olympics’ coverage of the 2012 London Games (1.7 million viewers and 5.5 hours). NBC Olympics’ primetime coverage of the Rio 2016 Paralympics averaged 143,000 viewers, up +175 percent from the London Paralympic Games (52,000 viewers).

About the USOC
Founded in 1894 and headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the U.S. Olympic Committee serves as both the National Olympic Committee and National Paralympic Committee for the United States. As such, the USOC is responsible for the training, entering and funding of U.S. teams for the Olympic, Paralympic, Youth Olympic, Pan American and Parapan American Games, while serving as a steward of the Olympic and Paralympic movements throughout the country. For more information, visit TeamUSA.org.

Related Athletes

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Simone Biles

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Aly Raisman

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Michael Phelps

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Laurie Hernandez

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Claressa Shields

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Gabrielle Douglas

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McKenzie Coan

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Becca Meyers

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Michelle Konkoly