Zika fear may keep fans at home during Rio Olympics: Report

New Delhi, July 27 (IANS) While sports enthusiasts are set for the Rio Olympic Games next month, many will watch the action from the comfort of their homes partly because of the fear about the Zika virus, a study revealed on Wednesday.

“We’re dubbing Rio Olympics 2016 the ‘stay-at-home Olympics,'” said Becky Tasker, Managing Analyst at Adobe Digital Insights (ADI), in a statement on Wednesday.

“We think Zika could be driving some of this. We looked at social mentions surrounding Olympics and Zika virus and we found that the US is exponentially talking about compared with other countries. We think that could be affecting travel to Brazil,” Tasker added.

As part of the analysis, ADI looked at global flights booked to Rio for the first six months of 2016.

Not only are flights to Rio down overall, but flights booked are also lagging the major growth in bookings seen for the 2014 World Cup — despite the fact that the Rio Olympics offers twice as many tickets.

“Our prediction is that this Olympics will be very mobile-centric, in that people will be watching it from their mobile devices,” Tasker said.

Based on the fact that booked flights to Rio are down, more mobile consumption is expected for the Rio Olympics.

“It will be interesting to see if marketers have shifted their strategies in terms of advertising to communicate with this audience that is trending towards being stay-at-home,” Tasker noted.

According to the report, Rio is going to boost some product category sales around 80 per cent. “We typically see that major sporting events drive the desire to gear up,” Tasker said.

As an example, during the Sochi Olympics, winter sports gear (figure skates, hockey equipment, ski equipment, and snowboard equipment) sales grew 82 per cent. “Expect similar trends for the Rio Olympics,” she said.

Also, the Rio Olympics is lagging behind other events in terms of social buzz.

The ADI report attributes it to the possibility that non-related events are taking away from the Olympics’ social media thunder.



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