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Battle of the Sexes Heats Up Over Olympic Games Sports

Travel News Asia Latest Travel News Podcasts Friday, 18 July 2008

Some of the toughest competitions during the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games may be at home over the television remote control, according to a Visa survey which shows a divergence between mens and womens interests in Olympic sports.

Of the 4,556 people from the Asia Pacific region who were asked which Olympic sporting events most interested them, swimming, football and gymnastics were the clear overall winners, but scratch the surface and differences between men and women became more apparent.

It appears the biggest battle will be over football, with a 19 percentage point difference between mens interest (53%) and womens interest (34%). Men said they were also more interested in baseball and boxing than women, while women were more interested in watching gymnastics and swimming particularly synchronized swimming.

Richard Chang, Visas Executive Vice President and General Manager for Greater China and the Philippines said, While the findings show that men and women are interested in different events, it is heartening to see a strong interest in the Olympic Games overall and the spirit of faster, higher, stronger that runs through every Olympic event.

It may be more than a battle of the sexes: the family lounge room may also see generational disparity over which sports to watch. According to the Visa survey findings, people over 45 are twice as interested in athletics and baseball as those aged 18-24, while younger people are far more likely to watch hockey, boxing and tennis.

What is interesting is that the passion for sport is the unifying factor amid the diversity of views and interests of the supporters. This passion is what helps create the colour and excitement at the Games, and is why the Olympic Games are such an important event in the global sporting calendar, Chang added.

Greatest Interest Gaps by Gender

Sport Men (% interest) Women (% interest) Percentage Point Difference
Baseball 35 23 12
Boxing 22 12 10
Football 53 34 19
Gymnastics 35 44 9
Swimming 45 53 8
Synchronized Swimming 10 23 13
Source: Visa/Nielsen survey

Interest Gaps by Age Group

Sport 18-24 Year Olds (% interest) 25-34 Year Olds (% interest) 35-44 Year Olds (% interest) 45 Years and Above (% interest)
Athletics 21 31 30 42
Baseball 19 25 26 36
Boxing 28 19 18 12
Gymnastics 28 33 40 47
Hockey 31 27 30 13
Tennis 37 29 30 22
Source: Visa/Nielsen survey

Between 17 March and 9 April 2008, Nielsen conducted 4,556 online and door-to-door interviews on behalf of Visa with people aged 18 years and above from nine countries and territories (Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Japan, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and India) in an effort to measure interest levels in global sporting events, China as a travel destination and, in particular, the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. For each market, quotas were set by demographic variables to ensure the sample was representative of the general population.

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