News about the London Olympics and Euro 2012 football tournament drive internet users to sports-themed websites
In a report set to publish later this month, eMarketer senior analyst Karin von Abrams looks at how marketers are using the London Olympics to the benefit of their branding efforts, focusing especially on how digital channels have transformed marketers’ options since the last Summer Olympics in 2008.
According to UKOM APS and Nielsen, 44% of all internet users in the UK—approximately 18 million people—visited a sports-themed website during May 2012. Of particular interest was London2012.com, which saw 2.8 million unique visitors during the month, double the previous month’s visitors. The most popular site by far, however, was that of the BBC, the official UK broadcaster for the Games. Visitors to the BBC Sports website in May 2012 numbered nearly 8 million, UKOM reported.
UEFA.com, the official site of the United European Football Association, which runs the Euro 2012 tournament currently under way, experienced an increase in visitors of over 50%, to almost 600,000 during the month.
Excitement over the Olympics is reaching a fever pitch, for both consumers and marketers. The sold-out event is closed to nonofficial sponsors, with the London organizing committee going so far as to ban the unsanctioned use of the words “London,” “Olympics” and “2012” in marketing materials.
“Marketers face a highly volatile commercial atmosphere,” commented von Abrams. “Brand giants such as McDonalds, Coca-Cola and BMW have paid many millions of dollars to be official sponsors of London 2012. As a result, the city of London is seeing the most wide-ranging and stringent rules about Games-related marketing ever implemented, so that non-sponsors cannot crash the party.”
Yet there are still opportunities for non-sponsor brands to implement innovative campaigns. “Constraints like appealing to consumers without infringing on the official guidelines can often inspire creativity,” continued von Abrams. “So we are also looking forward to imaginative and successful efforts from brands outside the official sponsors’ group. Meanwhile, the large number of web users going to the sports sections of major media sites should mean good results for advertisers with a presence there.”
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