Similarweb Digital Intelligence Report: Slow Start to Olympics Opening Weekend Engagement

ESPN and YouTube show modest gains online, emerging as digital front-runners

Similarweb, a leading digital intelligence company, released a report highlighting the digital trends shaping this year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo. The findings are based on insights generated daily from the Similarweb Olympics Digital Tracker, a one-stop-shop for data coverage of this year’s Summer Olympic Games including traffic leaders, industry rankings, audience search interest and more.

Traffic to the official site for the Olympics, olympics.com, soared as expected since the event’s opening, hitting a month-to-date high on July 25 at 16.95M visits, which is 8% higher than the prior day, and 72% higher than opening day on July 23. The top five countries visiting the site over the past 28 days were the United States (17.9%), Japan (15.5%), Australia (4.9%), India (4.8%), and the United Kingdom (4.5%).

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From Friday’s opening ceremony through the first few days of competition over the weekend, the key trends off the field and online include:

Traffic to YouTube hits 2021 high

  • Over the past week, worldwide traffic to the streaming sites category has grown by 2.1%, with the leading site being youtube.com (accounting for 98% of total traffic to the top five streaming content sites).
  • Worldwide traffic to youtube.com totaled 8.1B over the past week, up 1.9% from the week prior — while this spike is modest, this weekly traffic volume is the highest youtube.com has seen year-to-date.

All about Swimming

  • Out of all the sport-specific pages on olympics.com, the swimming schedules and standings homepage is the most visited with the highest share of traffic.
  • Other sports pages with significant traffic share include skateboarding — which made its Olympics debut this year — along with tennis, football/soccer, and basketball.

Sports news readers show limited interest in opening weekend

  • Over the past week, worldwide traffic to the overall sports news category has grown by 10.5%, with the leading site being espn.com (accounting for 43% of total traffic to the top five sites). While overall traffic to espn.com was only up 0.9% over the past week, Olympic-related content on espn.com was up 144.4%, also peaking on July 25 at 1.491M desktop visits.
  • Over the past 28 days, the trending Olympic content based on traffic share on espn.com related to Team USA’s defeat by Nigeria in its first exhibition basketball game, and its defeat by Australia in its second exhibition basketball game. Readers were also interested in Sha’Carri Richardson’s positive marijuana test and Kevin Love withdrawing from Team USA.
  • Upon arriving at the Olympics landing page on espn.com, readers are exploring different articles within, averaging 1.88 desktop pages per visit, bringing total desktop page views over the past week to 11.12M. This is lower than the engagement seen on the site overall at 2.85 pages per visit.

Team fans show their support, especially in Australia

  • The official online shop for Team USA was up 191% this past week at 234.9K visits, while the official shop for Team GB was up 314% at 102.9K visits.
  • The official online shop for Team Australia experienced a higher level of growth and reached a higher level of traffic than both Team GB and Team USA at 345.5K visitsup 622% from the week prior.
  • By contrast, Team Germany’s official online shop experienced a 23% decrease in traffic this past week, bringing total visits to 33.8K.
  • Fanatics.com, a popular apparel site for sports fans across the board, also has Olympic-related product pages reaching a recent high, totaling 20.6K desktop visits the week of July 19, up 92.7% from the week prior.

The first in Similarweb’s series of reports covering digital Olympics trends is available here.

Similarweb is not a sponsor of, nor affiliated with, the Olympic Games.

All product and company names are trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them. Similarweb insights are estimations and extrapolations based on information obtained from third parties. Similarweb shall not be held responsible for the accuracy of or any omissions from its data.

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