- On Thursday, August 11, NBC’s digital streams for the Rio Olympic Games reached 1.28 billion total minutes, already surpassing the total from the London and Sochi Games combined (1.24 billion minutes).
- Broadcast ratings for the night, which swimmer Michael Phelps and gymnast Simone Biles, easily surpassed the other networks, quadrupled the ratings of CBS, ABC and Fox combined that night.
- The 2016 Olympics saw more than three times the amount of live streaming during the first five days of the games than the 2012 Olympics, according to Adweek.
While the Olympics were once the domain of traditional TV, live streams and second screen activities have brought the games to digital. But as many eyeballs as the Olympics are bringing to TV and second screens, marketers should be aware of the IOC’s Rule 40, which prohibits anyone but the official sponsors from making commercial use of the games on social media. The rule outlines prohibited hashtags, images and actions, but remains somewhat vague about what is – and what is not – prohibited.
Marketers can get involved as long as they don't run afoul of the USOC's guidelines, but the rules are causing confusion among marketers, with some questioning whether they are even enforceable.
“Is my brand liable because someone retweeted me using #Rio2016? We don’t know,” Tim Howell, digital marketing strategist at R2integrated, told Marketing Dive. “The USOC is effectively asking the world to not talk about the largest event of the year unless we’ve paid them for the right to do so.”