There are 7,000 hours of sport to watch during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, and while it’s impossible to capture everything, audiences worldwide have watched it live or streamed on their TVs and devices. And in a year where more people are watching from home than ever before, how is marketing influencing the Olympics?
Michael Mirer says these games have been an interesting parallel to what we just experienced watching our favorite American sports on TV without fans in person. He is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Journalism, Advertising and Media Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
As no viewers are allowed in Tokyo due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, broadcasters are trying to deliver a different experience for viewers to keep investing in the Olympics.
“We’re not going to have that chorus in the background to tell us how great things are,” Mirer said. “I think that’s a big deal, especially at the Olympics, when we’re not always familiar with the sports we watch, so we don’t even have the people in the background telling us things are going. very well.”
Mirer says NBC takes a two-pronged approach – the 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. CST broadcast, which is heavily produced and includes short packages featuring the athletes, and then those same athletes are also heavily featured during commercial breaks during the course. of the Olympics.
Typically, sports broadcasters focus on gymnastics, track and field, beach volleyball, swimming and diving, according to Mirer.
“We’re going to see a lot of these athletes in the commercials because then they’ll be on screen. And then that benefits both the sponsor because… we’re more likely to sort of dig into their performance because we have an attachment. , we have what we call a parasocial interaction with the athlete on the screen, ”he explains.
While many spectators see the Olympics as a way to showcase top athletes, Mirer says he thinks it’s impossible not to see the Olympics as “a spectacle of capitalism and a spectacle of capitalism. what we might call neoliberalism “.
It notes that public money has been withdrawn from Japan and reallocated to private enterprise, the International Olympic Committee is not paying for the infrastructure needed to host the games, and it will not pay for the potential effects of the spread of COVID. in Japan. Additionally, “NBC will come away with a net profit, as will broadcasters around the world,” Mirer said.
Streaming options have become even more important for the 2020 Olympics, especially given the time difference between Tokyo and the United States and this allows for more business opportunities, he says. “The Olympics embody a lot of the social pathologies and social issues that we see all over sport. The Olympics aren’t necessarily a celebration of athletic excellence – it’s a way to make money,” he said. declared Mirer.