More fans than ever connected to the Olympic Games

New technologies and digital innovations have enabled more sports fans than ever to watch, follow and engage with the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. Since the start of the Games, the Olympic digital platforms have had record breaking traffic – double the number of users during Rio 2016 on a daily basis.

More fans than ever connected to the Olympic Games
© NISHIYA Momiji - IOC/Ubald Rutar

In total, more than 100 million unique users have already visited the Olympic digital platforms or used the Tokyo 2020 app (Android and iOS). “These Games are expected to be the most digitally engaged Games ever,” said Christopher Carroll, Director of Digital Engagement and Marketing for the International Olympic Committee.

“One of the key ingredients is that we are operating in full cooperation with Tokyo 2020, nine different languages to tell athlete stories and the global Olympic story, in collaboration with our Olympic Partners and Olympic Broadcasters.”

Social media posts by @olympics on channels such as TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Weibo have generated 3.7 billion engagements in 2021. The Olympics social media accounts now have a combined total of 75 million followers. Carroll said fans at home were particularly interested by the new sports added to the Olympic programme in Tokyo, including skateboarding and surfing, and stories about athletes and coaches supporting and encouraging each other, even if they represent different teams.

“What’s clear in our engagement activities is that the athletes are united in their journey,” he explained. “They’ve faced similar challenges, and here in Tokyo they are coming together. We are trying to bring that to the world, by celebrating the emotions of the Games to share a message of togetherness and solidarity.”

The Tokyo 2020 app has been trending in the top two app stores, and is particularly popular in Japan, the USA and India. On TikTok, there have been three billion views of videos relating to the #OlympicSpirit challenge, inviting people to share how they are getting into the Olympic Spirit.

While there has been strong growth among young people – especially around skateboarding, which attracted over 700,000 web and app users in two days – there has been new interest from all age groups.

The strongest digital and social engagement has come from (in alphabetical order) Australia, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the United States. In the host country Japan, the celebration of medals won by Japan and support for athletes has contributed to strong engagement on social media.

The top tweets to date have been about Rayssa Leal, the 13-year-old Brazilian skateboarding silver medallist, which attracted 460,000 likes, and the Intel drone show, which received more than 85% positive comments. In Australia, which was chosen to host the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games a few days before the start of Tokyo 2020, and which has enjoyed great success in swimming and many other sports, traffic on the Olympics website and app has increased 17 times over. In India the number of users has more than doubled, and the USA – the top country for web and app traffic - has seen a 20% increase.

All the figures are in addition to the audiences for the competition field of play content published exclusively by Rights Holding Broadcasters (RHBs) on their TV and social media channels.

Fans at home have been encouraged to post cheers for their favourite competitors via, @olympics social media, Tokyo 2020 digital and social media channels, and RHBs. So far 150 million cheers have been sent, from all countries of the world, supporting athletes from all 205 NOCs who are participating, across all sports.

“The athletes should not feel they are alone,” said Yiannis Exarchos, Chief Executive Officer of Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS), which produces the live television, radio and digital coverage of the Olympic and Paralympic Games for the RHBs. “They are supported by hundreds of millions of people around the world.”