Olympic Medals Lead to Growing Twitter Followings for Athletes

The recently concluded Summer Olympics in London have been a boon for athletes in all manner of ways, from individual glory and sudden fame, which can account for marketing and advertising deals that further benefit them down the road.

The impact of the games can be seen in a quick look at Twitter numbers, both for the games overall as well as for individuals who were the most talked about and who gained new followers as a result.

Twitter has posted some interesting numbers from the 16 days of events. It said that it had 150 million tweets over that span and that the top three were Usain Bolt winning the gold in the 200m sprints at 80,000+ tweets per minute (TPM). He managed 74,000TPM winning the 100m sprint.

Local favorite Andy Murray racked up 57,000 TPM on his way to gold in men’s single tennis, while the Jamaican 4×100 relay team’s gold recorded a 41,000. It is somewhat difficult to compare the results to previous world events because Twitter often posts the amount of tweets per second, but does not give a time frame over which that number averaged. However you can look here to see some of the top events of 2011 in terms of tweets.

The height of tweeting always took place duri

ng an event, rather than at the awards ceremony, particularly when it was a spectacular individual play. The top ten athletes that garnered a minimum of 1 million tweets each were:
1) Usain Bolt
2) Michael Phelps
3) Tom Daley
4) Ryan Lochte
5) Gabby Douglas
6) Andy Murray
7) Kobe Bryant
8 ) Yohan Blake
9) Lee Chong Wei
10) LeBron James

In many ways this was to be expected but now athletes are seeing that their followings growing, and now that the Olympic ban on talking about sponsors has ended, this can only benefit the athletes.

According to market intelligence firm Fresh Egg, which tracked athletes from Great Britain some of the athletes witnessed huge growth in their followings. Tom Daley saw a net increase of 821,000 followers, a 265% increase. Jessica Ennis saw a 235% increase with the addition of 408,000 new followers. It should be noted that the increase levels off after about the top 17. Overall the Team GB went from having roughly 3 million followers’ pre-Olympics to 5.7 million post Olympics, an 88% increase.

I can only imagine the numbers in four years when the games head down to Rio. The question here is will the IOC continue its ban on athletes mentioning sponsors in their tweets and other social media uses? If not athletes will be able to point out the growth of their followings after medal wins and other notable events when they negotiate with potential sponsors and so see additional fruits from their labors.


Reuters’ Photographer Captures Iconic Olympic Image After Three Days’ Wait

Luke MacGregor, a photographer for Reuters, the international news service, didn’t capture an athlete in flight or a dramatic race finish. But after three days of trying, MacGregor captured among the most stunning images of the London Olympics.

Posting the details of his three-night mission near the Tower Bridge in London on his blog, the photographer perfectly captured the moon as the sixth Olympic ring.

Tower Bridge. Image © Luke MacGregor/Reuters

Using a smartphone application to properly gauge the rising of the moon, MacGregor details his quest to get the shot in a three-day diary, accompanied by three images.

In one first-day passage of his blog post, the photographer writes:

“Having planned to be in the ‘perfect’ spot on London Bridge with a good view of the Olympic Rings further up river and using the app information, I waited for the moon to rise.

“However the horizon itself was a little cloudy. When the moon eventually showed itself about 10 minutes after the app’s moonrise time it was off to the right hand side of the bridge. I hadn’t taken into account that the moon wouldn’t rise in a vertical line but would travel across the sky.”

Two days later, after calculating the changing exposure, the brightness of the moon and dealing with curious tourists in the line of his pending image, MacGregor got what he wanted. It’s an iconic image, a remembrance of the London Olympics far away from competition but as poignant as an event.

To read MacGregor’s blog in full and to view the three images, visit: Shooting The Moon
James Raia is a California-based journalist who writes about sports, business, travel and leisure. Visit his cycling site at tourdefrancelife.com

No Surprise: NBC’s Online Olympics a Huge Success

According to multiple reports from an NBC press call today, the network’s massive effort to put the Olympics online is an equally massive success, especially on mobile platforms. Paid Content’s Robert Andrews has a complete wrapup of the numbers, but the ones that stick out for us here at Mobile Sports Report are (and these are all digital numbers, not broadcast):

64 MILLION total video streams served so far

5.3 MILLION hours of live video

45 Percent of all digital video streams are coming from a phone or tablet, and not an online laptop or desktop

What this tells us — and what we hope NBC and other old school broadcasters can digest — is that despite massive online consumption of content, the golden-goose prime time broadcasts aren’t harmed. In fact prime time is even bigger and better than ever for NBC, despite all the criticisms which we believe are warranted.

It seems chic for a lot of media types to surf the second wave of follow-me journalism, namely criticizing the criticizers for being a bunch of Twitterheads who don’t matter to “real people” who have “real jobs” and can only watch TV late at night. To that we say nerts. It’s pretty obvious from the online numbers that there is an entirely new audience out there who wants to consume content on their own schedule, or as close to real time as possible. Those people who smugly say Twitter and phone-watchers “don’t matter” need to get out of their own stereotypes and realize the world of the future is going to be one where more, not fewer, people get their content through mobile devices, with perhaps those mobile devices and their connectivity powering that big screen grandpa used to call “the TV.”

I’ll start the third wave — the critics of the critics are wrong. NBC’s own numbers are showing that online and digital can be huge without detracting from prime-time production numbers. There’s a whole new audience out there who consumes sports on mobile devices, and they are right to stand up for what they want, telling broadcasters like NBC directly through the mediums they live in. They are the growth of sports media. What is your sport doing to find them?

Wednesday Wi-Fi Whispers: Olympic Road Race was a Missed Wi-Fi Opportunity

We’re still scratching our heads here at Mobile Sports Report over the apparent lack of infrastructure planning that led to cellular congestion problems during last weekend’s Olympic men’s cycling road race. Our big, unanswered question: Why didn’t organizers put a temporary Wi-Fi network in place to handle the totally expected wireless traffic?

It can’t be a surprise anymore to anyone that people in general and sports fans in particular are going to be big users of mobile devices at events. Cycling races, especially loop-course races like the Olympics, are probably going to be at the top tier when it comes to mobile data usage since people typically sit in one place along the course to see the riders as they come by every lap — and then spend a lot of time waiting in between.

These days, that waiting is filled with mobile device use and it was a huge miss to not turn the Olympic race into some kind of Wi-Fi endeavor that could have benefitted multiple parties, including the fans. That organizers didn’t do something like install one of the mobile Wi-Fi networks our friends at Xirrus set up during the Tour de France seems to be a huge error, like Michael Phelps forgetting how to finish a butterfly race.

Why didn’t Cisco, which issued several press releases before the Olympics touting its role in helping with the IT infrastructure of the games, push to make the road race a commercial for its sports services? It’s not my marketing budget to spend, but I think Cisco could have done a really cool job by putting in a Wi-Fi network, having digital displays all around the course so that fans could see the action away from where they were sitting, and maybe have an app (like the cool Tour Tracker app) that people could download to stay abreast of the action on their phones and tablets.

Instead — we are left with a lot of finger-pointing, companies saying it wasn’t their problem, blah, blah, blah. The fact that a big crowd was going to be at the race and that it would want to use mobile devices wasn’t a last-minute secret. Big event organizers everywhere should learn from the Olympic failure and think ahead to see if there isn’t a Wi-Fi opportunity that can produce a positive outcome for all involved.

Ruckus Gets London Wi-Fi Gig

More Wi-Fi London news — the folks at Ruckus have won a contract to supply outdoor Wi-Fi antennas in London for operator Telefonika U.K.’s O2, which according to Light Reading have already been appearing on lampposts. Though it’s not a stadium win, it is another vote for Ruckus’ architecture.

Olympics Wireless Network Gets Overloaded on Day 1: Organizers Ask Fans Not to Tweet

Well, despite lots of planning and press releases, it turns out that the folks behind the wireless networks at the London Olympics weren’t prepared for the smartphone revolution. According to a Reuters story today, fans effectively shut down TV coverage from the men’s cycling road race by overwhelming the wireless network with their communications, leading the games organizers to ask fans not to tweet so much.

(As Gizmodo says, good luck with that.)

Of course we here at Mobile Sports Report have been covering the whole Wi-Fi at events topic pretty closely, but from here it looks like we’re about to get a new failure data point, for what happens when big-event organizers underestimate the connectivity needs of the crowd. (Stay tuned this week for an in-depth report on the subject.)

According to the Reuters story, the men’s cycling road race Saturday didn’t get key broadcast information during the race because the hundreds of thousands of fans lining the course apparently gummed up the wireless network. Sunday, the games asked folks to back off on Twitter use:

An International Olympic Committee spokesman said the network problem had been caused by the messages sent by the hundreds of thousands of fans who lined the streets to cheer on the British team.

“Of course, if you want to send something, we are not going to say ‘Don’t, you can’t do it’, and we would certainly never prevent people,” he said. “It’s just – if it’s not an urgent, urgent one, please kind of take it easy.”

We are trying to get a response from networking gear vendor Cisco, which made much about its involvement with service provider BT, formerly known as British Telecom, the main service provider in and around London. While Cisco touted its networking chops before the games, like Michael Phelps the network’s performance so far is something short of gold.

Anyone over there in London have any downtime experiences? Let us know in the comments. More on this as we hear from Cisco.

When Do Olympic Events Start? Google Will Tell You

Now that the opening ceremony is out of the way, let the Olympic Games begin. And if you want to know when any event will start, Google is ready to tell you — and will even handily sync it to your local time, all the better for those of us who want to watch things in real time, no matter how far we are from London.

As a cycling fan I knew the men’s road race was nearing its start time over in London but I didn’t know exactly when it kicked off, so off I went to Google — where I found a handy cycling schedule to the right hand side of the screen, telling me that the race started at 2:00 a.m. my time. Entering “swimming” in the Google search bar brought up an equally impressive interactive schedule (screen shot to the left) with all heat race times. I am assuming Google has this info sussed out for all events on all days. A handy and easy thing and a good way for the Googlers to make sure they get more than their share of search revenue during the games, by being the best at pointing people where they want to go.

With NBC promising to stream everything live, Google’s “Watch Online” button will probably get quite a workout. When it comes to the men’s road race Saturday I know Mark Cavendish is the favorite and if it comes to a field sprint he won’t be beaten. But Olympic races never seem to go as planned, and remember Cav ain’t racing here with the full Sky team but only four other teammates, with no radios so it’s not a given that Cav will deliver. Our good friend John Wilcockson earlier this year sussed out the strategies we may see on the London course. I’m going to go with Peter Sagan as my pick, just to seem smart.