Modern Pentathlon with Obstacle will boost popularity of Olympic Games, according to US public survey
- 45% of Gen Z and 41% of Millennials more likely to watch Olympics on TV following change
- Young Americans 42% more likely to follow Olympics on social media
- YouGov survey consulted 1,500 members of US general public
Nearly half of young people in the United States are more likely to watch and follow the Olympic Games once Modern Pentathlon has introduced Obstacle to the programme, a new survey has found.
A poll of 1,500 US citizens undertaken by YouGov, the global public opinion and data company, found that 45% of Generation Z (born in 2000 and later) and 41% of Millennials (born between 1982 and 1999) were more likely to watch the Olympic Games on TV if it featured a Ninja-style Obstacle race. Taken as a percentage of the US population this would equate to nearly 45 million more people watching the Games.
The survey also found that 42% of Gen Z and 41% of Millennials were more likely to follow the Olympic Games on social media if it featured a Ninja-style Obstacle race, with one in two Gen Z and Millennials surveyed stating that they watch Obstacle racing shows.
As displayed in the graphic above, when asked ‘How much would the addition of a Ninja-style Obstacle race make you more or less likely to watch the Olympic Games on TV or online stream?’, 12% of Gen Z respondents said they would be ‘much more likely’ to do so and 33 % said they would be ‘more likely’. A higher proportion of Millennials (18%) answered ‘much more likely’ with 23% saying ‘more likely’.
When asked ‘How much would the addition of a Ninja-style Obstacle race make you more or less likely to follow the Olympic Games via social media?’, 10% of Gen Z respondents said they would be ‘much more likely’ to do so and 32% said they would be ‘more likely’, while 16% answered ‘much more likely’ and 25% ‘more likely’.
A new Obstacle discipline is currently being integrated into Modern Pentathlon at junior and youth levels, and senior athletes will fully adopt the change after the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. More than two-thirds (37%) of survey respondents said they would be more likely to watch the new-look Modern Pentathlon at the Olympic Games, and 46% of those cited enjoying Ninja-style Obstacle races as the reason, with 34% describing the reason for their answer: ‘I think the Modern Pentathlon needs to embrace change’.
Obstacle shows were also considered highly entertaining, engaging and challenging by survey respondents – outscoring both the Olympic Games and Modern Pentathlon on these keywords.
UIPM has proposed a transformative Modern Pentathlon comprising Fencing, Obstacle, Swimming and Laser Run for the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games, following a request from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to demonstrate how the sport can be more compatible with the criteria for inclusion in LA28.
The YouGov survey was commissioned by UIPM as a first formal step in assessing the new sport against two of those criteria in particular:
· Recognising global appeal to fans across the world, and host country interest.
· Prioritising gender equality and youth relevance to engage new fans and athletes.
Ahead of the IOC Session in Mumbai (IND) where the composition of the LA28 sporting programme will be decided, further public research will be undertaken by UIPM and analysed alongside the views of athletes and other participants in the upcoming UIPM 2023 U17, U19 and Junior World Championships, as well as feedback from organisers and participants in national and continental competitions.
You can also read the UIPM brochure, A Perfect Match: The New Modern Pentathlon and LA28, by clicking here.