Skip to content


The Winter Olympics: Sports fans in Europe and the U.S. are ready to watch

Fans plan to watch more than 2018 games, with figure skating, alpine skiing as top draws.

The Winter Olympics in Beijing open this week and, according to a recent Altman Solon survey, sports fans are eager to watch them again. The survey, which measured interest in the 2022 games for sports fans in the U.K., U.S., France, Germany, and Italy, found that 40-60% of global sports fans plan to watch the games. In addition, 30% of respondents in the European countries surveyed say they plan to watch more than they did in 2018.

Women more excited than men for Olympics in U.K., U.S.

France had the highest level of interest in the Winter games of any nation surveyed, while Italy had the lowest. Women’s interest outpaced that of men in four of five countries, with the most pronounced gender split seen in the U.K. and U.S.


Sports fans plan to watch more Olympic content

In all the countries surveyed, a greater percentage of fans report they expect to watch more of the 2022 Olympics compared to 2018 than those who plan to watch less. At least 40% of respondents in Germany, Italy, and France are planning on watching more than they watched prior games, with Italy showing the strongest increase.


While sports fans in all countries share a strong interest in the games, the platforms they use to consume Olympic content varies from Europe to the U.S. The most popular TV / video platforms used to watch the Winter Olympics among interested respondents are free-to-air TV, traditional pay TV service, and free streaming. At least half of the respondents in the U.K., Germany, Italy, and France, plan to watch on free-to-air TV, while 52% of respondents interested in the Olympics in the U.S. plan to watch on traditional pay TV.


“There is a lot that can happen over the course of the games to affect viewership, but the survey data suggests that the 2022 Winter Olympics could provide a good opportunity for media rights holders and their sponsors to burnish their brands in both domestic and international markets.”

Matt Del Percio, Altman Solon, Director

Alpine Skiing, Bobsled, Figure Skating Interest Viewers

While interest in the various Winter Olympic events varies from country to country, there were some common favorites among the five countries tested.

In the U.K., respondents who are interested in the Winter Olympics trend toward Downhill / Alpine Skiing, Bobsled, and Figure Skating. About one-third of respondents in Italy (35%) and France (32%) were also most interested Downhill / Alpine Skiing. Figure Skating is the leading sport of interest in the U.S. – chosen by 26% of respondents – and is also relatively popular in France and the U.K.


“Unlike other markets that have one rights holder for all Olympic content, rights in the U.K. are shared between the BBC and Discovery. In order to increase returns on their investments and enhance the audience experience across the vast amount of available content, both broadcasters are making solid commitments to making the content widely available across multiple services. They are also integrating new technologies in their coverage – including extended and virtual reality – all to the advantage to UK sports fans.”

Ian Lube, Altman Solon, Partner

The Winter Olympics survey was conducted in mid-January with more than 2,500 respondents across five countries. For more insights on the survey, please read Matt Del Percio’s article on TVB Europe here.

Leadership & Oversight

Matt Del Percio


Ian Lube