Advertising Around the 2024 Paris Olympics: Who Will Be Watching, and Why?

10.12.2023 Jessica Sloan4 min

In July 2024, The Paris Olympics is set to kick off—and billions of fans around the world will be tuning in to watch the action across a record-setting 329 medal competitions.

As the biggest television event on the 2024 calendar, and with thousands of hours of programming slated for U.S. audiences alone, the 2024 Paris Olympics is a can’t-miss advertising opportunity for brands of every size—including local businesses focused on engaging consumers in their community.

Before you invest in Olympics advertising, take a moment to familiarize yourself with the audiences who will be tuning in to watch the 2024 Paris Olympics —including how they plan on keeping up with the action.

Olympics Audiences, By the Numbers

With widespread appeal and wall-to-wall programming, the 2024 Paris Olympics are going to be a massive draw across both TV and streaming services.

Audiences across every generation, and from almost every pocket of America and the globe, will be tuning in at some point between July 26 and August 11. Consider the following:

  • During the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, more than 3 billion viewers tuned in around the world. With the 2024 Paris Olympics taking place in France, and broadcast at times more friendly to U.S. audiences, this rate of engagement is expected to increase—particularly among American viewers.
  • U.S. viewership is highest among the 50-to-64 crowd. But millennials and Gen Z audiences have shown a particular interest in women’s sports—and these audiences will be catered to in 2024.
  • The Olympics are popular among consumers of every income level. Viewership is especially high among consumers who have attended college: 69 percent of U.S. viewers have at least some level of college education.

What Motivates Viewers to Watch the Olympics?

As a one-of-a-kind televised sports event, the Olympics and the audience it draws is much different from other kinds of sports competitions. Consumers tune in to the Olympics for a wide range of reasons, resulting in a captive sporting audience that may feature different values and interests than sports audiences your business has targeted in the past.

According to a 2021 YouGov survey, here are some of the most significant trends explaining why consumers might be tuning in to The Paris Olympics:

  • Men are more likely than women to watch the Olympics as a way of supporting their country and athletes. Forty-eight percent of men say their patriotism and desire to support athletes is a leading driver of their Olympics viewership, compared to 34 percent of women.
  • The appeal of watching the world’s best athletes is influential among all viewers. Men and women are nearly even when citing their desire to watch the elite competition on display during the Olympics, by a margin of 46 percent to 43 percent.
  • Women are more likely than men to identify as fans of the Olympics. As an entertainment spectacle, the Olympics brand is stronger among women than men: 51 percent of women said they “love to watch the Olympics,” compared to only 41 percent of men.
  • As an event held only once every four years, audiences are reluctant to miss out on a limited-time experience. The scarcity of Olympics programming likely factors into consumer motivations to tune in. Forty percent of men consider the Olympics important and a must-see event, while 38 percent of women agreed.

How Will Viewers Watch the 2024 Paris Olympics?

Expanded Olympics coverage, as well as diversifying viewership options via digital streaming, are rapidly changing how audiences will be watching the 2024 Paris Olympics. Trends that began to take root during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics are expected to continue their upward trajectory in 2024 as the networks of NBCUniversal deliver Olympics experiences that cater to a wider range of consumers and viewer preferences.

Here are the viewership trends that will matter most in 2024:

  • Live broadcasts are preferred, when scheduling allows. While the time difference between host city Paris and the United States may affect live viewership during certain periods of the day, fans of the Olympics like to watch live coverage when possible: according to the same YouGov survey, 74 percent of respondents said they prefer to watch Olympic action live on their TV sets.
  • Half of all consumers watch TV highlights and replays of earlier events. With jam-packed schedules and a significant time difference between Paris and U.S. time zones, most American audiences will be unable to watch all of the 2024 Paris Olympics on a live broadcast. Fortunately, 50 percent of those viewers are likely to watch highlights and TV replays to catch up on the live events they’ve missed.
  • TV programming has expanded with every recent Olympics. Global television coverage of the 2016 Rio Olympics surged to more than 150,000 hours. In 2024, NBCUniversal plans to feature at least nine hours of daytime coverage for each day of The Paris Olympics, in addition to primetime programming—the most ever.
  • Audiences will be watching across multiple devices. During the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, 97 percent of audiences watched Olympics content on a television set. Fifty-seven percent consumed Olympics content via a smartphone or tablet, and 40 percent watched on a desktop computer.

With less than a year until the start of the 2024 Paris Olympics, businesses should be active in planning media buys and locking down inventory before these opportunities disappear.

A digital advertising partner like Cox Media can help you identify the best-fit Olympics advertising options and create a cost-effective ad strategy aligned with your business goals. Contact us today to get started!

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Jessica Sloan

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