Olympic Games Most Popular Global Sporting Event for Asia Pacific Audiences

Anticipation of the upcoming Olympic Games is high among people across Asia Pacific with respondents from seven out of nine Asia Pacific markets surveyed listing the Games as their top global sporting event.

Visa, a worldwide Olympic partner, commissioned the survey to seek the views and levels of interest in the Games of people from key countries and territories other than China – the host of the upcoming Games.

Of the 4,556 respondents from across the region who were asked to rank a variety of global sporting events on a scale from 1-5, 74% gave the Olympic Games top 4 and 5 scores as the most popular global sporting event, ahead of the FIFA World Cup (given top scores as top global sporting event by 59%) and the ICC Cricket World Cup (given top scores as top global sporting event by 37%).

Interest in the Olympic Games also outranked other global sporting events such as the Asian Games (given top scores as top global sporting event by 49% of those surveyed) and Formula 1 (given top scores as top global sporting event by 36% of those surveyed).

More than half of all respondents (57%) said they would be interested in the Olympic Games no matter where it was held. But interest in the host city, Beijing, was a strong pull factor for people in Hong Kong (43%), Malaysia (32%) and India (28%).

Of those who said they were very interested in the Olympic Games, respondents from Korea (55%), Hong Kong (49%), Malaysia (40%) and Singapore (34%) said they were most likely to make plans to visit China because the Games are being held there this year.

Between 17 March and 9 April 2008, Nielsen conducted 4,556 online and door-to-door interviews on behalf of Visa with people aged 18 years and above from nine key markets (Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Japan, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and India) in an effort to measure interest levels in global sporting events, China as a travel destination and, in particular, the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

For each market, quotas were set by key demographic variables (gender, age and race) to ensure the sample was representative of the general population.

Richard Chang, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Visa Greater China and the Philippines said, “The Olympic Games are all about bringing people together and celebrating sport and competition. And we are seeing that borne out in the high level of interest in the Games, and the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in particular, even among nations that are known for their football and cricket enthusiasts. We can expect a strong level of support and interest from the region as the Games draw closer.”

This high level of interest bodes well for the coming Olympic Games, which traditionally attracts billions of viewers. A record-breaking 3.9 billion watched the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, while 3.6 billion watched the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

It is more than just excitement about the approaching Games for many of the countries and territories. More than a third of all surveyed were focused on their own teams’ preparation and medal chances, with Korea (75%), India (72%), Hong Kong (66%) and Taiwan (67%) showing the keenest interest in their teams.

Chang added, “Clearly, interest in the upcoming Olympic Games is being driven not only by interest in China, but by a passion for the Games itself. The Games are the ultimate opportunity for people to show their patriotic spirit when supporting their teams’ efforts at attaining Olympic medal glory while also a time for people to come together to enjoy the spirit of unity that comes from their shared passion.”

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