On February 4th the 2022 Winter Olympics will officially begin in Beijing, China. While these Olympics will look different than past competitions due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and a diplomatic boycott by countries including the United States, Australia, Britain, and Canada, millions of people around the world will still tune in to see their nations’ best athletes compete in skiing, skating, and more.
American’s attitudes and habits surrounding the Olympics often differ by race and ethnicity. For example, almost two-thirds of Black, Asian, and White Americans say that watching the Olympics makes them feel proud to be American, but this figure is closer to half of Hispanic Americans. When investigating deeper into acculturation-level data, we see that only about 4 in 10 Unacculturated Hispanic Americans feel a sense of patriotism during the Olympics, while Acculturated Hispanic Americans are closer to the other segments at 62%. Since Unacculturated Hispanic Americans are more likely to be immigrants to the United States, they may have an additional rooting interest in their home countries during the Olympics.
Cultural duality is at the forefront of many Hispanic Americans’ identities and manifests elsewhere in their feelings about the Olympics. Hispanic Americans are the most likely of any racial or ethnic segment to see the Olympics as a great occasion to build unity among different countries. And these attitudes make them more likely to consume Olympics content as well. Sixty-eight percent of Hispanic Americans say they watch sports during the Olympics they otherwise wouldn’t watch, which is higher than all other groups and significantly higher than White Americans.
Understanding the Hispanic community’s love of the Olympics and desire to have content in Spanish, NBC and its subsidiary Telemundo aired over 300 hours of Spanish-language events during the 2020 Summer Olympics, specifically featuring soccer, basketball, baseball, and volleyball. They also sent famous Hispanic sports figures to the Olympics in Tokyo to provide live commentary.
Advertising around the Olympics can be tricky due to the International Olympic Committee’s strict rules around using their copyrighted logos and trademarks. It’s even trickier this time around, as China is being accused of human rights abuses that have led to several diplomatic boycotts and calls for existing advertisers to drop out as well. Regardless of the host country, the Olympics are a chance for athletes who have worked their entire lives on their sports to show off their skills. Focusing on them and their incredible achievements could be a great way to invoke the sense of American pride and unity that many report feeling during the Games.
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