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Action sport media consumption trends across generations : exploring the Olympic audience and the impact of actions sports inclusion / Belinda Wheaton, Holly Th...

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Wheaton, Belinda | Thorpe, Holly

Full title: Action sport media consumption trends across generations : exploring the Olympic audience and the impact of actions sports inclusion / Belinda Wheaton, Holly Thorpe

The ageing demographics of Olympic viewers is a key concern for the International Olympic Committee. The inclusion of action sports into the Olympic programmes has been a key strategy to try and connect with youth consumers, most recently through the inclusion of skateboarding, surfing, and sport climbing into the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games. Drawing on a questionnaire distributed online in nine languages, and contextualized with analysis of the action sport media, this research explores international and multigenerational action sport consumers’ sport viewing preferences and attitudes to the Olympic inclusion of action sports. The findings suggest that action sport participants across different countries, ages, and genders are avid consumers of action sport media but also keen consumers of the Olympics. The majority of survey participants were enthusiastic about the inclusion of action sports (and particularly skateboarding) into the Olympic Games, although there were important trends across nationalities and ages. Nonetheless, reflecting debates in the subcultural media, participants also have concerns about the processes and politics of action sports inclusion. Action sports may well provide the International Olympic Committee with new lucrative markets, but to maximise the engagement of complex intergenerational audiences, their viewing preferences will need continued attention and understanding.

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