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Networked Insights Note: This is the fourth report in a new series Networked Insights is developing about the Olympics. We will continue to monitor top stories and provide data and analysis throughout the PyeongChang games, and will round out our coverage with a research report answering the question: What is the impact of the Olympics?

Men may dominate the conversation, but women hold the glory.

Despite earning less per year, and garnering fewer athletic-focused sponsorships, female athletes dominated in Olympics’ audience engagement and in gold medals – both domestically and internationally. So, Networked Insights wanted to find out, should female athletes be earning more than they are, simply based on the increased audience interest and success they’re experiencing?

To answer this, Networked Insights quantified the emotions, sentiments, and volume of engagement for both male audiences and female audiences during the Olympics and benchmarked against the total conversation.

The findings were clear and finite: women ruled and it could mean better sponsorship opportunities for brands.

The Findings

Men and women talked about women’s events more than they talked about men’s events, and the margins were significant.

In fact, nearly 60 percent of the conversation during women’s events was held by men. And the conversation was mostly positive. Networked Insights found that of the total conversations, 43 percent related to success and 40 percent were bursting with pride for the athletes and for the country.

Olympics4_Male Audience Engagement_Final

Women, too.

As women got their turn to compete in the various Olympic events, more than half of the engaged audience was male and conversations were mostly positive, too, also focusing on the success and pride of the win and the value to the country.

Olympics4_Female Audience Engagement

Those numbers aren’t surprising since women have won 12 of the 23 U.S. medals, and five of the nine U.S. gold medals.

The most recent gold medal earned by women was in hockey. The nail-biting shootout in the U.S. versus Canada game uprooted a four-time winning streak and broke a 20-year record. The last time the U.S. beat Canada in women’s hockey was in 1998, the first year the event was introduced to the winter games.

Should audience engagement translate to salary?

The hockey win is especially thrilling for women because it comes after a hard fraught fight for female financial fairness. Just one year ago, women claimed that USA Hockey wasn’t paying them a living wage. Some also said they had to work multiple jobs in addition to training and competing, despite being on a nationally recognized team.

After asking for a $68,000 salary and the same treatment men receive like being able to bring a guest to competitions, flying business class and have disability insurance. Women boycotted, the league threatened to bring in replacement players and the feud continued to become uglier before ultimately relenting in favor of the athletes. The final agreement was never publicly disclosed.

Most concerning the feud is just how far the ugliness spread. The women’s arguments drew support from other major player associations like the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL. It was also at the same time the national women’s soccer team was fighting for their own financial equality.

The battle for financial fairness isn’t limited to hockey or soccer.

Women earn 77 percent of what men earn and it’s even more pronounced in other sports. Adelphi University found in 2014 that athletes in the WNBA earn 1.6 percent of a male athlete in the NBA. In golf, women earn 16.6 percent of what men earn and in tennis, women earn 54 percent of what men earn.

Bottom line, it was a fight that women won for the longevity of major associations. And now with engagement up, trampling men, should an increased salary be implemented across the board?


If more than half of the Olympics audience, which is male-dominated, is engaging with women’s events more than men’s sports, it raises an opportunity for brands to better align themselves with female Olympic athletes.

For more insights like this, or to analyze brands or campaigns of your own, get in touch with Networked Insights at, hello@ or at



Networked Insights Note: This is the third report in a new series Networked Insights is developing about the Olympics. We will continue to monitor top stories and provide data and analysis throughout the PyeongChang games, and will round out our coverage with a research report answering the question: What is the impact of the Olympics?

With big games comes big spend and this year was no different.

Brands like Toyota, Intel, and Ralph Lauren are investing in the Olympics to not only support the athletes and their core values, but they also leveraged the use of having a captive, engaged international audience as a way to speak about their brand.

From sponsorship deals to promotions to just having the chance to build brand campaigns using the Olympics audience, most of the six brands Networked Insights analyzed are seeing a positive impact from their efforts. But, two brands are actually facing backlash, suggesting their spend and effort on the world’s stage may not be worth it.

When seeking to understand if the spend is worth the bottom line engagement for brands associated with the Olympics, Networked Insights looked at audience emotions. A positive lift for the brand with increased engagement meant the spend and effort were worth it.

The six brands Networked Insights focused on are as follows:

  1. Toyota, campaign with athletes under #TeamToyota
  2. Intel, who during the opening ceremony conducted a light show with drones, a move that broke a world record.
  3. Ralph Lauren, which made the coats for team USA
  4. Oreo, which is heavily leveraging social media and even some of the Team USA uniforms.
  5. Samsung, a Korean company made the phones for all the athletes, except Iran because of international sanctions.
  6. NHL, which wouldn’t allow their players to participate in the winter Olympics.

Audience Engagement on Social Media

From the opening ceremony to today, Intel has still generated the greatest engagement.

Networked Insights BrandEngagement_TopEngagement

This means Intel’s status as a “Worldwide Olympics Partner” and a spend of at least roughly $100 million per four-year Olympic cycle, according to Reuters, may have been worth it.

For that hefty price tag, sponsors, of which there are 13, receive top billing and a chance to showcase their services to spectators at the games and on television. And that’s exactly what Intel did.

Using their technology, spectators are able to engage in real time with the winter games via virtual reality. Also, Intel provided a 5G demonstration, drones, artificial intelligence platforms and various gear for use during the games. Check out more of Intel’s goals and involvement with the Olympics as an international sponsor here.

In-and-Out Burger is successfully capitalizing on the Olympics momentum without having to pay for it. After two athletes, Adam Rippon and Mirai Nagasu were seen eating at the west-coast burger joint while watching the Sochi Olympics four years ago, their moments in the PyeongChang games is exciting sports reporters.

Finally, the NHL remains a primary conversation topic because the organization refused to let their players attend the games because of potential losses to the league. What this means for the NHL’s brand perception is yet unknown, but right now, it is not looking favorable.

Emotional Change by Brand

Two of the six brands Networked Insights is analyzing are experiencing a drop in positive audience emotion.

Networked Insights Olympics Story 3 Emotional Change ByBrand

Because of the NHL’s choice to not allow its players to participate, the organization is seeing a 5.88 percent drop in positive audience sentiment.

Samsung is also experiencing a drop in positive audience sentiment. Before the Olympics, audience sentiment was 83 percent positive and now it is 79 percent positive, a 5 percent drop in positive sentiment. Networked Insights found the drop in sentiment to be mostly due to the brand’s choice to not provide phones to Iran.


Question: For what brands involved with the Olympics, was the juice worth the squeeze?

Answer: Intel, Ralph Lauren, and Oreo.

For more insights like this, or to analyze brands or campaigns of your own, get in touch with Networked Insights at, hello@ or at