After being delayed for a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo have begun. And, with the pandemic far from ending, a recent survey by Ipsos found that only a little more than half (52%) of Americans believed that the global sporting event should go ahead, with two-thirds (67%) saying that the Olympics is an opportunity for the world to come together.
Alongside this sentiment, only about half of Americans say they are very (16%) or somewhat (32%) interested in the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Indeed, this level of interest is pretty much on par with the global average who say they are very (16%) or somewhat (30%) interested in the games, but considerably higher than the 32% of adults from Japan who are interested in the event.
Soccer is the Olympic event that has the highest interest, globally, with 3 in 10 respondents listing it as one of their top three sports they are most interested in following. However, soccer does not even make the top 5 list for Americans. They are most interested in gymnastics (39%), aquatics (32%), track and field (21%), basketball and baseball (each at 13%).
Gender Equality in Sports
While the struggle for women to be better represented in media and with brands continues, global insights from Nielsen argue that the Olympics is “the only global sporting event characterized by true gender parity.” Not only do a similar share of males (48%) and females (45%) show an interest in the Games, but a majority of fans are interested in both men’s and women’s events in sports such as track and field (68%), swimming (67%), tennis (64%) and gymnastics (55%).
The Summer Olympics will also see more medals awarded to women, with Reuters reporting that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) says of the 494 medals available for women, 156 of those will be gold, compared to the 165 gold medals of the 530 available to men.
About the Data: Findings from Ipsos is based on a May-June survey of 19,510 adults across 28 countries.