Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Buzz about London 2012 Olympics building gradually

UK consumers are talking more and more with their friends and relatives about the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympic games, but the rise in buzz about the games is very gradual. To date, football remains a much bigger talking point, particularly among men and many traditional sport fans. Buzz is also much weaker outside of London and the South-East.

These are the findings of the latest consumer research on word of mouth by the Keller Fay Group. They are based on new, just released information from Keller Fay's TalkTrack Britain® study, an ongoing research programme which tracks word of mouth in the UK on a continuous basis. It is the only such research that looks at both offline as well as online conversation and was launched in the UK in July 2011.

During April 2012, 20% of UK consumers said they had discussed the Games over the previous 24 hours, which is up slightly on the March figure (18%) and considerably above the levels recorded in the latter half of 2011 (8-10%). As the Games approach, buzz will of course increase, but at this stage we are some way off from the Games capturing the attention of the entire nation.

The 20% buzz figure compares with 25-30% who typically discuss Premier League football in a 24-hour period. More broadly, issues such as holidays, shopping, food/diet and money/economic issues are generally more widely discussed:

Selected Issues Discussed in past 24 hours: April 2012
Holidays or travel plans
Energy or petrol costs
Nutrition, dieting, healthy eating, etc.
Concern about your own financial situation
The overall state of the economy
(English) Premier League football
The 2012 London Olympics/Paralympics
Crime and lawlessness

Encouragingly for London 2012, those discussing the games are not necessarily hardcore sports fans, with women almost as likely to discuss the Games as men. But the downside is that many of the traditional sporting audience – football and rugby fans in particular – are currently more focussed on their own teams and leagues. So perhaps attention will shift to the Olympics once the football and rugby seasons finally close.
The other challenge facing LOCOG is how to engage those living far away from London and other Olympic venues. People living in London itself are around three times more likely to discuss the Games than those in Scotland or NE England.

In summarising the research results, Steve Thomson, Managing Director of Keller Fay UK, said "It's clear that excitement about London 2012 is building, but at the moment traditional sports – football especially – are hard to dislodge from getting the main attention around the nation's kitchen and pub tables. In England, this week has started with the focus on Roy Hodgson, and it seems that until the summer itself the Olympics aren't yet top of the agenda."

Keller Fay reserves the right to make minor adjustments to data following final quality control checks.