2016 Olympic Sports Trends

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In anticipation of the Olympics, Shutterstock’s taken a look at their data to see where their customers are searching for. They’ve bundled all their data and created some nice visuals explaining their key findings. In this post we take a look at what they found…

2016 Olympics Infographic


Key Points About the Data

  • The data for this interactive infographic came from global customer download and search behavior across images and video since 2012, the last olympics year as compared to 2015 and 2016 to date.
  • Shutterstock’s customers are designers, art directors, marketers, filmmakers, advertisers, bloggers, media organizations and businesses, and as such, their selection of imagery is a reflection of current trends and trends to come in the advertising, film, and media industries.
  • They use internal tools and work with their data, content and creative team to sort through the data, looking for trends, seeing what’s on the rise, and comparing to previous years or similar trends.

Overview of the Trends

Section 1: The World’s Biggest Olympic Sports
The team looked at the 10 most popular sports based on image and footage searches. This data is purely based on the search terms customers use around the world to find imagery for a particular sport.

Interestingly, searches for the term “Soccer” ranked higher than “Football”, though the Olympics summer sport is known as Football. The top 10 image and footage searches are as follows:

Section 2: The Fastest Growing Sports by Country
This section looks at image searches for the fastest growing Olympic sports (excluding the list of “Major Sports Worldwide”) and shows which sport has climbed the ranks in particular countries around the world. There are some you might expect such as “Triathlon” in the United States given the rise in popularity of the sport over the last 4 years, and there are some you wouldn’t expect such as Badminton in Brazil. Artistic Gymnastics ranked number one in Russia and Spain, while Athletics was the fastest growing Olympic sport in Mexico and the United Kingdom.

Section 3: Olympics VS Paralympics
Shutterstock its data shows that searches for Olympics and Paralympics begin 2 years prior to the Games and continue to gain momentum as the event comes closer.

Total searches for Olympics grew 23% in 2014 YOY and 16% in 2015 YOY. Meanwhile, total searches for Paralympics grew 20% in 2014 and 18% in 2015.

Three of the most popular Paralympic sports, based on image searches on Shutterstock are wheelchair sports including basketball, tennis and rugby. Swimming also ranked among the highest searched for sports together with Paralympic searches.

The data shows customers are searching for content outside of specific sports in relation to the Olympic Games. The top four associated terms with the Olympic Games were symbols of the event including fire, stadium, medal and park.

Section 4: The Olympics in numbers
Taking place over 17 days in August, the Olympic Games bring the world together. According to data shared by the Olympic Games committee:

  • 10,500 athletes are competing from 206 countries in 2016
  • Athletes compete in 306 medal events across 42 sports
  • The 2012 Olympic Games were seen by 3.6 billion people worldwide
  • Almost 100,000 hours from the 2012 Olympics were streamed or broadcast

Section 5: Rio on the rise
Since Rio de Janeiro was announced as a host city for the 2016 Olympic Games, searches for the terms “Rio” and “Olympics” together have grown a shocking 4255% since 2012!

More of this?

Do you like this post? It is part of our “Rio 2016 Olympics” theme. A special page showing all images we've published around this theme.

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About the author

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Houke de Kwant is a frontend developer from the Netherlands and the creator of TheArtHunters (former Daily Inspiration, which was started as part of his study).

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