• CBC sets streaming record with women's hockey final

    Just as NBC posted its strong streaming numbers in the U.S. for Thursday's Olympic women's ice hockey gold-medal game, the CBC in Canada set its own record for the event.

    The CBC's streaming audience of 325,000 unique users on mobile and desktop devices is the highest digital audience ever for any live event in network history. And given Canada's total population of about 35 million, the digital audience represented nearly 1 percent of the entire country.

    NBC's number of 1.2 million uniques for Thursday’s game, while certainly historic in its own right, comparatively represented about three-tenths of 1 percent of the U.S. total population of about 315 million.

    Tags: Canadian Broadcasting Corp., Hockey, Olympics
  • White, Kenworthy rise on Twitter; Oshie adds 158,000 followers

    Despite not medaling in Sochi, Shaun White still gained more than 111,000 Twitter followers.
    After 12 days of competition, only three U.S. Olympians have added more than 90,000 followers on Twitter during that time frame.

    Among U.S. athletes, Shaun White continues to lead all non-professional hockey players with more than 111,000 new followers despite not medaling in Sochi. Silver-medalist freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy used his notable efforts to help adopt stray dogs from Sochi to supplement his Olympic popularity to the tune of almost 93,000 new followers.

    While professional hockey players weren’t being tracked, the overnight success of shootout star T.J. Oshie was impossible to ignore. Since the Games began, the St. Louis Blues star has added more than 158,000 new followers. That would place him first among all Olympians tracked. In comparison, the other shootout hero, goalie Jonathan Quick, only added 12,000 new followers.

    Rounding out the leaderboard with more than 50,000 new followers since the Sochi Games began were snowboarder Sage Kotsenburg, figure skaters Gracie Gold and Meryl Davis, and freestyle skier Nick Goepper.

    Twitter followers were measured on Feb. 5 and again on Feb. 20. Professional hockey players were not included in this data.

    Top 20 U.S. Olympians in Sochi

    RANK Top 20 Most Additions Twitter Handle Feb. 5 - Twitter Followers Feb. 20 - Twitter Followers ADDITIONS INDIVIDUAL MEDAL
    1 Shaun White @shaun_white 1,258,623 1,369,667 111,044  
    2 Gus Kenworthy @guskenworthy 13,606 106,520 92,914 SILVER
    3 Sage Kotsenburg @sagekotsenburg 7,425 69,549 62,124 GOLD
    4 Gracie Gold @GraceEGold 25,286 82,461 57,175  
    5 Nick Goepper @NickGoepper 11,164 64,859 53,695 BRONZE
    6 Meryl Davis @Meryl_Davis 20,873 73,742 52,869 GOLD
    7 Bode Miller @MillerBode 37,407 84,211 46,804 BRONZE
    8 Ashley Wagner @AshWagner2010 29,714 71,540 41,826  
    9 Charlie White @CharlieaWhite 18,435 58,532 40,097 GOLD
    10 Jamie Anderson @Jme_Anderson 11,490 47,634 36,144 GOLD
    11 Jason Brown @jasonbskates 10,013 38,563 28,550  
    12 Joss Christensen @josschristensen 8,724 28,799 20,075 GOLD
    13 Julia Mancuso @JuliaMancuso 54,016 73,201 19,185 BRONZE
    14 Kaitlyn Farrington @KaitlynFarr 2,370 16,914 14,544 GOLD
    15 Hillary Knight @Hilary_Knight 14,785 28,799 14,014  
    16 Bobby Brown @Bobby_Brown1 33,189 47,125 13,936  
    17 Jeremy Abbott @jeremyabbottpcf 26,240 40,128 13,888  
    18 Noelle Pikus Pace @noellepikuspace 2,059 15,395 13,336 SILVER
    19 Lolo Jones @lolojones 378,543 391,165 12,622  
    20 Johnny Quinn @JohnnyQuinnUSA 14,073 26,491 12,418  

    Tags: Twitter, Olympics
  • Women's hockey final attracts 1.2M unique streaming users

    NBC Sports said late Thursday that it generated 1.2 million unique users for its digital stream of the Olympic women's ice hockey gold-medal game between the U.S. and Canada, the largest audience for any sports event in the history of NBC Sports Digital with the exception of Super Bowl XLVI two years ago.

    That Super Bowl drew 2.1 million unique users, at the time the most-watched U.S. sports event online ever. The hockey game also drew 34.9 million minutes of consumption. The streaming audience figures from Thursday will likely be challenged, if not surpassed, by Friday's men's semifinal Olympic hockey game between the U.S. and Canada.

    Tags: Hockey, NBC, Olympics
  • Getty Images photographer breaks down Olympic hockey assignment

    Each Olympic hockey game that Getty Images shoots produces roughly 1,000 images, according to staff photographer Bruce Bennett.
    Getty Images has been the official photo agency of the International Olympic Committee since 1988. The company has a team of 69 photographers, editors and technicians uploading 2,000-plus images a day in Sochi. Staff photographer Bruce Bennett is a member of the team. It’s his fourth Olympics, and hockey is his specialty. He photographs the NHL year-round, and in Sochi he will be shooting this weekend’s medal round. He spoke to SBJ’s Tripp Mickle before the Olympics about his work.

    What’s the biggest difference between shooting an Olympics and shooting an NHL game?
    BENNETT: We’re dealing with a larger ice surface. Anticipating the plays forwards and defensemen will make in games on an international surface takes a little while. There are so many more photographers at these events, and that changes the dynamics as well.

    How many more photographers?
    BENNETT: Let’s start with the women’s games. For a typical (Olympic) women’s (hockey) game, you might have 30 or 40 photographers. An NHL game has five to 10. The men’s final will have about 100 photographers. For the Stanley Cup final, you might have 30.

    Do you get to photograph anything other than hockey?
    BENNETT: In Vancouver, I had some days to walk around the city and shoot some scenics and get some atmosphere shots, but my sole focus is to make sure the hockey arenas are taken care of.

    How many photographs will shoot in an average day?
    BENNETT: It appears that all the days I shoot there will be two or three games a day, and each game will have almost 1,000 images shot handheld. Within 180 seconds, we can have images out and back to our editors and out for publication. Key moments get out extremely quickly.

    What’s the most interesting thing about being a photographer at the Olympics?
    BENNETT: The enthusiasm on players’ faces. These players want to participate. They want to play for their country. There are a lot of National Hockey League games where players don’t seem completely engaged. But the whole atmosphere — fans, players, camaraderie — it shows in the photos. It’s the best hockey you’ll see in four years.

    What makes for a great Olympic photo?
    BENNETT: What we look for when it comes our way is the jubilation and dejection in the same photograph. I prefer the ice-level positions so that you can see faces. The best hockey photographs are when you can see players’ expressions and the intensity. If you can get celebration and dejection in the same shot, that’s a winner for you.

    Tags: Hockey, Olympics, NHL
  • NBC gets best Olympic stream figure yet with U.S.-Czech Republic game

    NBC Sports Live Extra’s live stream of the U.S.-Czech Republic men’s hockey quarterfinal game Wednesday drew 798,337 unique users, marking an Olympic record and ranking second all-time among NBC Sports’ event streams.

    The all-time record still belongs to the Giants-Patriots Super Bowl XLVI stream in 2012, which drew 2.1 million uniques. The previous Olympic record was 682,806 uniques for the U.S.-Japan women’s soccer gold-medal match during the 2012 London Games (see chart, below).

    For a comparison to streams on ESPN3, the U.S.-Czech Republic match would rank second all-time behind only 865,729 uniques for the U.S.-Algeria pool-play match from the 2010 FIFA World Cup. ESPN3’s second-best event was 772,788 uniques for the Florida State-Auburn BCS National Championship game last month.

    Men's hockey quarterfinal: U.S.-Czech Republic
    Women's soccer gold-medal match: U.S.-Japan
    Men's hockey pool play: U.S.-Russia
    Men's snowboard halfpipe gold medal (Shaun White)
    Men's swimming (200-meter IM/Michael Phelps)

    Tags: NBC, Hockey, Olympics
  • NBC’s Tuesday rating down, moving net’s Sochi average closer to Turin

    NBC finished with an 11.2 rating and 18.9 million viewers for Tuesday night’s coverage from Sochi, marking the lowest-rated second Tuesday in at least the last 20 years.

    Tuesday night’s coverage featured gold-medal finals for women’s alpine skiing (giant slalom), men’s freestyle skiing (halfpipe), men’s snowboarding (snowboard cross) and women’s short-track speedskating (3,000 meter relay). Also featured was the women’s bobsled competition. The comparable night during both the 2010 Vancouver and 2006 Turin Games featured the ladies’ figure skating short program. That event aired last night on NBC.

    The lower rating also brings the Sochi average closer to Turin. NBC is averaging a 13.0 rating through 12 nights, up 4 percent from Turin but down 8 percent from Vancouver.

    Tags: NBC, Olympics
  • Podcast: Yahoo's Puck Daddy, Greg Wyshynski

    SBJ's Tripp Mickle and Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo's Puck Daddy
    SBJ's Tripp Mickle and Greg Wyshynski, creator and editor of Yahoo's popular Puck Daddy hockey blog, have a fun, insightful and irreverent discussion about the Sochi Games, covering everything from Sochi 2014's preparation and how things have changed for the better during the second half of the Games, to the hockey tournament and how the hookup app Tinder has swept through the Athletes' Village. Among the highlights:

    "Everything is being built right as we get there, and that's exactly what Sochi is. Literally as you walk into the hotels or the venues, you hear saws. … Russians are like a people who cram for tests. … I don't know if a lot of people who were harsh about it don't want to acknowledge that they got their stuff together, but they have."

    "Russia looks like the middle of Pennsylvania. It looks exactly like Pennsyltucky. You go up to the Poconos where the mountains are. It's all flat. There's a lot of quarries and rocks and random streams and tiny houses in the distance. It looks exactly like Pennsylvania, which is not what I expected."

    "From a pop culture perspective, what's the thing I'd least expect to see in the Athletes' Village? Well, I saw it — a 'Rambo' video game. … Did they not get a chance to get the 'Red Dawn' video game or 'Rocky IV' video game?"

    Tags: Yahoo, Hockey, Russia, Olympics, SBJSBD Podcast
  • Thanks to Sochi Games, Coke sees double-digit growth in Russia

    The Sochi Games helped Coca-Cola achieve double-digit growth in Russia last year for its trademark Coca-Cola brand.

    The company has been using the Olympics to market its brand in Russia the last five years, and over that time it saw an increase in volume, brand preference and, perhaps most importantly, brand preference among Russian teens, which is a key demographic.

    “The Olympics have definitely been a huge success in Russia,” said Emmanuel Seuge, Coca-Cola’s vice president of global alliances and ventures. “We had a good end of the year in Russia and activation started nine months ago in Russia.”

    Scott McCune, Coca-Cola vice president of global partnerships and experiential marketing, said that the other thing the Olympics had done was boost Coca-Cola’s sales and stature in southern Russia. The company has long been a market leader in the soft-drink category in Russia, but it trailed Pepsi in the south of the country.

     “Sochi has allowed us to take leadership because of the five-year build-up,” McCune said.

    Coca-Cola has a large, red showcase pavilion in the Olympic Park in Sochi. More than 2,500 spectators a day are coming through the venue. The showcase emphasizes healthy and active living.

    It features two domes that can be seen by spectators as they exit the train station. One of the domes highlights Coke’s role in the Olympic Torch relay and talks about the history of the company in Russia. The second is interactive and encourages guests to live active lifestyles.

    Coca-Cola tends to put less emphasis on the Winter Games than it does on the Summer Olympics. It is only activating in 10 to 15 markets worldwide, and its focus around Sochi has been growing its business in Russia.

    In an earnings call last week, Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent said that the company last year saw its business achieve an “all-time high market share for non-alcoholic, ready-to-drink beverages.”

    Tags: Russia, Olympics, Coca-Cola
  • USOC digital views nearly top London, Vancouver combined

    The U.S. Olympic Committee sold out of its entire digital advertising inventory for the Sochi Games and delivered record-setting traffic for advertisers.

    The organization’s website (teamusa.org) and new app have combined to deliver more than 16.2 million page views during the first 10 days of the Sochi Games, nearly as much as the 17 million total page views that it netted from Vancouver 2010 and London 2012 combined.

    John Pierce, the USOC’s managing director of marketing and productions, said the traffic reflects the rising consumption of digital media on mobile devices and the popularity of U.S. athletes, whose stories and bio pages attracted the most views.

    “It speaks to the popularity of the Games,” Pierce said. “Twitter’s become easier to use. The way tech is being used to serve fans is making it easier to consume content, but it starts with the athlete. People want to know more about our athletes.”

    The USOC hosted a digital “newsfront” last year to pitch digital ad buyers and sponsors on advertising on its site during the Games. Its sponsors Airweave, Smuckers, Folgers and Deloitte took advertising positions. It also sold inventory to non-sponsors J.C. Penney, Endless Pools, Oberto and the Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau.

    “We had a high bar for revenue expectations and we’ve met it,” Pierce said. “We met it because we hit the sweet spot for us, which is to tell the athlete stories and drive people to consume live streaming and TV coverage at NBC.”

    The USOC’s Twitter audience nearly doubled from 270,000 before the opening ceremony to 570,000, and the number Facebook likes and shares it’s received, which is multiplied by how many people see those likes and shares, jumped from 400,000 to 4.5 million.

    Pierce said the USOC digital team’s effort to be more timely with information it’s sharing on social channels has helped drive those increases. He pointed to a Facebook post after Meryl Davis and Charlie White won gold as an example. It netted 105,000 likes in less than 12 hours.

    “In London, we weren’t as active,” Pierce said. “We weren’t posting as much.”

    Pierce said the USOC’s digital platforms are getting twice as much traffic from tablets and phones (10.9 million page views) as they are from computers (5.3 million page views).

    More than 360,000 people downloaded its “Team USA Road to Sochi presented by Smuckers.” The total is nearly 100,000 more downloads than the USOC netted for its “Road to London” app.

    Traffic is up on the app from London, too. It’s generated 7.6 million page views. Pierce said that’s a result of modifying the app to emphasize athlete information.

    “We learned from London and we made a conscious decision to focus the content on the athletes themselves,” Pierce said. “It was built as a companion app. If you’re watching the NBC broadcast or live streaming and you say, ‘Oh, who is (snowboarder) Nate Holland.’ You can go and find out. We know it’s working because the page views are through the roof on it.”

    Tags: USOC, Olympics
  • TD Ameritrade puts miles, money into Olympic hopefuls

    TD Ameritrade's "It Adds Up" campaign helped potential future Olympians fly to Sochi to experience the Games.
    Part of the appeal of the Olympics is discovering the stories of athletes and what it takes for them to reach the pinnacle of their sport. TD Ameritrade hopes to stand out from the marketing clutter of the Games by being part of the journey for five Olympic and two Paralympic hopefuls.

    In addition to six current Olympians and one Paralympian, TD Ameritrade teamed up with seven other athletes, ranging from age 14 to 23, who are hoping to earn a spot on Team USA for the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea. It’s all part of the online brokerage company’s “It Adds Up” campaign, which allows fans to be part of the journey of these athletes.

    “It’s really about marginal gains, both in investing and with athletes,” said Dedra DeLilli, director of corporate sponsorships and social media marketing for TD Ameritrade. “There are little things that you can do as an athlete or an investor that add up to something big.”

    So far, the little things have added up to big things for the Olympic hopefuls thanks to the efforts of TD Ameritrade and the participation of fans. From the time the campaign kicked off in early December through Sochi’s opening ceremony on Feb. 7, every mention of #itaddsup on social media was leveraged to accrue miles for the prospective Olympians to go to Sochi and experience the Games firsthand. The total added up to 37,017 miles, enough to send the seven hopefuls to Sochi.

    TD Ameritrade also supports several current Olympians.
    “They really had an experience of a lifetime and were able to get a behind-the-scenes perspective of what it would be like at an Olympic Games in everything from getting guidance of navigating the business side and agents to getting media training and actually being interviewed,” DeLilli said. “We just thought it was a unique opportunity for us to provide these hopefuls with an Olympic experience without the added pressure of competing, which we often hear is an overwhelming experience for a first-time Olympic or Paralympic athlete.”

    After the opening ceremony, the #itaddsup mentions were reset so that with every mention, TD Ameritrade donates $1 to an account for each of the seven athletes. The goal is to fund each account with $25,000. The campaign has raised $12,471 so far.

    This is the second Olympics that the company has been a part of, following the 2012 Summer Games in London. The theme for its marketing strategy in London revolved around the idea of “help along the way.” The “It Adds Up” campaign hopes to build off that and take it a step further.

    “One of the things we learned in London is that opportunities are really endless around the Olympic Games,” DeLilli said. “So we decided that we were going to really make a bigger splash and invest in things like social media, particularly, which we think lends itself well to the idea of ‘It Adds Up.’”

    TD Ameritrade’s “It Adds Up” Athletes

    Current Olympians:
    Tim Burke / Biathlon
    Ryan Callahan / Hockey
    J.R. Celski / Short-track speedskating
    Patrick Deneen / Freestyle skiing
    Noelle Pikus-Pace / Skeleton
    Danelle Umstead / Visually impaired Paralympic alpine skiing
    Louie Vito / Snowboard

    Hopeful Olympians:
    Gracie Clapp-Taylor (age 21) / Skeleton
    Chris Douglas (age 23) / Paralympic sled hockey
    Jakob Ellingson (age 19) / Biathlon
    Gabe Ferguson (age 14) / Snowboarding
    Katrina Schaber (age 16) / Paralympic alpine skiing
    Nik Seemann (age 16) / Freestyle skiing
    Aaron Tran (age 17) / Short-track speedskating

    Tags: Olympics
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