With all of the negative attention surrounding the upcoming summer Olympic Games in Rio, it doesn’t come as a surprise that American’s interest in the Games has dwindled. According to a Gallup poll released this earlier this morning, only 48 percent of Americans say they plan to watch the upcoming Olympic Games.
Reports on zika virus, toxic water, doping scandals, and unsafe conditions in the Olympic Village have definitetly had an impact. In an interview with the Washington Times, Gallup analyst Art Swift said that “this is a sharp drop from 59 percent in 2012 and easily the lowest percentage planning to watch compared with the past four summer games. Thirty percent say they plan to watch ‘not much’ of the Olympics, and 21 percent say ‘none at all’ — the highest percentage saying so since Gallup began asking this question in 2000″.
Additionally, the survey found a suprising drop in interest among women. In 2012, women made up 63 percent of the Olympic viewing audience– however, only 47 percent of women surveyed expressed interested in watching this summer’s Olympics.
Swift noted that the Olympic games have been a “rallying cry for nations since ancient times,” and television producers are well aware that the sport-driven inspiration, moreso than the sport itself, is what draws the hordes of viewers to their televisions every two years (our readers excluded). All of the negativity and concerns over this year’s Olympics, however, seem to have overshadowed these typically inspiring stories – and while those negative stories can have short-term benefits to interest in the leadup, once the games begin, they’re harder to sustain without evolution – and unfortunately, in many cases, the evolution of those controversies is tragedy.