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Many executives anticipate other major sporting events, notably the NCAA basketball tournament during March Madness and the 2014 World Cup this summer, to have a bigger effect on traffic and sales.
Spectators at Fado in Chicago
Some sports-friendly casual-dining chains have noted that while the 2014 Winter Olympics might provide a slightly positive incremental lift, their expectations for the Winter Games’ ability to drive sales and traffic were about as high as the Jamaican bobsled team’s hopes of medaling.
Outside of a few marquee events, such as men’s and women’s ice hockey, the Olympics, concluding this weekend in Sochi, Russia, likely would not produce many major dining-out events, owing perhaps to the time difference and resulting broadcast delays, lack of medal prospects for American athletes, or few popular sports that attract people to restaurants from their homes or offices, marketers said.
Many of those same executives anticipate other major sporting events, notably the NCAA basketball tournament during March Madness and the 2014 World Cup this summer, to have a bigger effect on traffic and sales.
“The Winter Olympics just aren’t a major draw, especially a Winter Olympics in a different time zone,” Andrew Pudduck, vice president of marketing for Hooters, said of the 2014 Games. “If they were in Salt Lake City [as in 2002] or Vancouver [as in 2010], in relatively the same time zone, there would not be spoilers on the morning news.”
Even if viewers avoid spoilers from news sites or social media, fewer of them have tuned in to this year’s Olympics compared with the event four years ago. According to Nielsen TV rating data reported in the Los Angeles Times, primetime viewership of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi has failed to keep pace with the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Through the second Sunday of this year’s Olympic Games, primetime broadcasts averaged 23.2 million viewers, down 11 percent from 2010.
Nielsen also reported that the Winter Olympics in Sochi has averaged a 6.1 rating in the 18-to-49 age demographic, which is 14 percent lower than the 2010 Olympic Games’ rating with the same set of viewers.