Come August, Two Out of Three Americans Will Be Viewing Olympics

July 06, 2016

A survey from the Saint Leo University Polling Institute ( found that more than two-thirds of Americans plan to watch broadcasts of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, being held from Friday, August 5, through Sunday, August 21, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The institute’s online poll of 1,001 adults was conducted from June 10 through June 16, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

An impressive 69.2 percent said they plan to watch broadcasts of the 2016 Rio Olympics. Men are slightly more apt than women to plan to watch, at 70.9 percent, compared to 67.7 percent.

The broadcasts are airing on NBC, the Spanish-language partner Telemundo, and related cable networks in the NBCUniversal corporate family.

The survey also asked those intending to watch which of the 28 sports they are most eager to see.

  • Well over one-half said they wanted to see swimming (69.7 percent) and gymnastics (63.7 percent).
  • The next most popular was basketball, at about one-third of respondents (34.6 percent).
  • About one-quarter of those answering wanted to see track and field (25.6 percent) and/or volleyball (25.5 percent).
  • Soccer, boxing, tennis, cycling, and golf were also of interest, in that order, attracting audience percentages ranging from around 18 percent down to around 11 percent.

NBC, in promotional releases, is promising viewers the most live broadcasts ever with this Olympiad. The timing may work well for viewers. The time zone in Rio is one hour ahead of the Eastern Time zone and so fairly compatible with the U.S. lifestyle.     

To learn more about the survey, and to read commentary from Saint Leo University sport business faculty members Phil Hatlem and Dr. Dené Williamson, visit

They discuss the business of putting on mega events and the concerns about the Zika virus and other environmental health risks.

*The emblem is from the official 2016 Rio Olympics website.