Nielsen data shows that 1.6 million New Zealanders tuned in to the summer Olympics over the weekend, with over 847,000 of those watching the opening ceremony.
While still an impressive turnout by any ratings measure, it’s below the number that tuned in for any of the four previous editions of the curtain raiser.
London’s opening ceremony in 2012 was watched by 1 million Kiwi viewers, the Beijing edition in 2008 was watched by 1.1 million, Athens 2004 was viewed by 953,000 and Sydney 2000 saw a mammoth TV turnout of 2.1 million
Nielsen’s data continues by listing athletics, swimming, rowing, canoe sprint and weightlifting as the most popular events during the London Games.
In terms of single events, few were as popular as the rowing, which saw over three quarters of a million people tune in to watch Eric Murray and Hamish Bond and single scull Mahe Drysdale win gold medals in London.
Interestingly, the Olympics—perhaps because it includes such a diverse range of events—is more popular among Kiwi viewers than rugby union, rugby league, cricket or football.
The popularity of the Olympic Games has led to a number of brands looking to share in the hype by sponsoring the event or signing endorsement deals with athletes.
Last Friday, Samsung launched an activation in Auckland that gave Kiwis a virtual reality sailing experience.
Augusto, the agency behind the Samsung campaign, has also shot a number of spots for High Performance Sport New Zealand, focusing on a few of New Zealand’s biggest athletes.
Jennian Homes has also tied some classic Kiwi Olympic footage into its home-building message.
While Powerade’s blue bloods spot was developed by US agency David, it has a local connection in having been shot by Exit Films on the North Shore.
No doubt there will be a few more brand activations as the medals are handed out over the next few weeks.