Exploring the Growing Interest in the Olympic Winter Games, pp. 25-35
The spectator audience for the Olympic Winter Games has been increasing around the world. This phenomenon is highlighted in countries such as Mexico, Brazil, and South Africa (termed “non-traditional” markets) that rarely participate in the Winter Games, yet choose to watch them. To explore this phenomenon we interviewed key figures involved with the Olympic Movement. Our intention was to identify key themes from the text of the interviews and put these themes together to form a framework that would explain the growing interest in the Olympic Winter Games. The results showed that the Olympic brand and the experience of watching the Games make the Olympics very appealing. We also found that key stories (myths) and heroes strengthened both the brand and the experience of watching the Games. However, what sets the Olympics apart from other sporting events is the concept of hope. The Olympics embody what we want to see in the world (fairness, togetherness, etc.), and with each Olympic Games our hope for seeing these concepts applied in life increases. The concept of hope sets the Olympic Games apart from other sporting events and allows the Olympic Winter Games to reach audiences in non-traditional markets.