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A sporting bonanza: Comparing the world’s biggest sporting events

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

With the limp body of English hopes in the Euros barely cold, preparations have already begun for gearing up for the summer’s next big sporting event. Take down the St George’s Crosses and put out the Union Jack bunting. Team GB is rolling into town. The world is becoming dominated by ad spend, most tweeted moments and host nation expenditure. It’s got to the point where it’s nearly taking over the sport itself. Below are some highlight stats of the noise around the world’s three biggest sporting events:

Total number of global viewers

globalviewers2 The recently completed Euro 2016 competition is expected to rack up just over 2 billion viewers globally. This may seem a lot, but pales in comparison to the numbers that tuned in to the entirety of the London Olympics in 2012. This figure stood at 3.64 billion. This may seem like a lot of people but compares only slightly favourably to the single most watched televised event ever, the Brazil World Cup Final, which accounted for just under a third of the total views for the competition (1 billion). Sources – StatistaFifa, Uefa

Ad spend by Coca-Cola

coke2 The biggest competition surrounding the world’s biggest sporting events takes place off the field of competition entirely. In fact, with fortunes to be spent and made, the real competition is for brand placement and ad space. You’ll remember the McDonald’s chip monopoly [excuse the Mail link] of 2012. No vendors within the Olympic Village were allowed to sell chips, unless of course they were sold with fish. The sponsorship race is as confusing as it is competitive. Worldwide sponsors, Tier 1 sponsorship, anyone? What we can be sure of is that for Coca Cola, one of the biggest advertisers in the world, London 2012 was the main event. Sources- TheGuardian, Adage, Campaignlive

Number of participating police officers


Number of tourists

tourists2 Judging these two stats side by side shows that in comparison London had the least officers on the beat per tourist visiting. In London, this figure stands at around 47 tourists per officer. In France the number of policer per tourist rose to roughly 35 people to a tourist. In Brazil however there were roughly 7 people per officer on duty. The nature of football necessitates a sturdier presence than athletics. When was the last time you saw a fight over badminton? What is probably the most astounding point of this stat is that nearly three times the amount of people visited the Euros in France than visited London, and half as many more than visited Brazil. This can be attributed the universal popularity of football, coupled with the proximity of Europeans to France. A cheap train ticket across the channel is easy, a transatlantic flight to Brazil, less so. Sources – BBC, Rioonwatch, TheGuardian, Office for national statistics, Wall St Journal, UEFA

Number of participating nations

athletes2 Nothing majorly shocking about this one. With 26 sports to compete across, it is no surprise that the Olympics draws the biggest crowd of sportspeople. What did attract the ire of mathematically savvy viewers, was the expansion of the Euros from a 16 nation completion to a 24 nation competition. Watch this video for more of an explanation as to why this is a problem. Sources – BBC, Fifa, UEFA

Total amount spent by the host nation

spendings2 France has a deeply ingrained footballing culture, which means that there were ready set-up stadia that could be used to host the matches. Brazil has something approaching the same infrastructure but many of the stadia needed drastic renovation, namely the Maracanã, which was first built in the 40s, in preparation for Brazil to host the 1950 World Cup. London 2012 saw the development of the Olympic Village. This was a project that went hand in hand with the regeneration of Stratford. An area that was in desperate need of investment was chosen to host the Olympic Village. In it were built, the Olympic Stadium, Velodrome and many many more sporting arenas. This article form 2012 predicts the London Games to be the most expensive Olympics ever. Sources – BBC, Fifa, UKcredit

Largest stadium capacity

stadiums3 The new Wembley Stadium is the largest of all sporting venues from the three sporting competitions. Holding 90k people it beats the Stade de France by 10k. The Maracanã is the smallest on this list but conversely has held the largest attendance of any of the three stadia featured. In the 1950 World Cup final it officially held 199,854 people, but unofficial attendance is actually placed at 210,000. This was due to lax crowd rules and a large terraced area of the stadium. Sources – BBC, BBC, Google

Number of venues

venues2 The term London 2012 seems to have been a touch disingenuous, in fact it appears a third of the venues were actually outside London. As was to be expected with the amount of people taking part in the event. More athletes necessitates more stadia. Sources – BBC, Google, Google

UK TV airtime

airtime2 With 300 events compared to Brazil’s 64 matches it really is no surprise that London 2012 is head and shoulders above the rest in terms of airtime. Couple this with the fact that the Games were on home turf and this figure does seem about right. Casting your mind back it does seem like the Games dominated all and every inch of television coverage for the month or so it took place. Sources – BBC, Mirror

Most tweeted moment

mosttweeted2 At time of writing (12 July) the Euros’ most tweeted moment was the shock defeat of England to Iceland. This moment had an average tweet per minute rate of 135,000. With tweets totalling 140 characters, and the average English word being five characters, that means each tweet holds roughly 28 words. In one minute of 135,000 tweets that means roughly 3.8 million words were written. That is around four and a half Old and New Testaments combined. But that amount pales in comparison to Germany winning in Brazil 2014, that received 619k tweets per minute. Or using the same calculations as above that means roughly 17.3m word were written. In one minute. Sources – Twitter, Twitter, Squawka

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