The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi showed a huge interest through Social Media. Even President Obama got into the act, tweeting congratulations to Olympians after the US Hockey team’s exciting victory over Russia. Facebook and Twitter are huge tools for communication for sponsors and athletes.
The Hockey match generated almost 1 million tweets by itself. After the match, one of the Heroes counted 45000 new followers and the team as a whole generated a total of 18.4 million tweets. Obviously, Olympic sponsors and athletes have made strong use of Facebook and other social media sites for marketing and publicity. Athletes that get a gold medal squeeze social media to negotiate new contracts. A lot of mangers and marketers see sports in a very new age where a lot of promotion is done via social media, in other words it’s the new word-of-mouth advertising for the super-information age. Nowadays, athletes give full access of their accounts to their sponsors. Even United States Olympic Committee Chief Marketing Officer Lisa Baird states that if an Olympian’s social media following explodes like Gold’s it definitely makes the athlete a more valuable spokesperson for a brand. Social media has been found to be a golden source of inexpensive marketing for several years.
My question to the class is: Based on history and the first Olympic Games in Greece, athletes wanted to represent their country and their pride, but with the use of Social Media nowadays they only follow individual goals, like getting better contracts with sponsors? Is this really still representing the Olympic spirit or just individual profit desires?