Understanding Television Viewership of a Mega Event: The Case of the 2010 Winter Olympics

Luke R. Potwarka, Robin Nunkoo, Ron E. McCarville

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Media coverage and related viewership can be critical to the financial success of many sport and tourism events. It is not surprising, then, that many event organizers seek to improve the appeal and television viewership ratings associated with their respective properties. Moreover, insights into the nature of people's decisions to watch the Olympics on television might be relevant to marketers hoping to simulate postevent tourism. This study focuses on understanding viewership decisions surrounding the Olympic Games using the theory of planned behavior as a conceptual framework. Consistent with the theory, it was hypothesized that attitude toward the behavior, subjective norm, and perceived behavioral control would explain respondents' intention to watch the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games on television. Results suggest that watching the Games on television was associated with: (a) a belief that important others would perform the behavior (i.e., descriptive norms); (b) previous viewing of the Games' televised coverage (i.e., past behavior); (c) a favorable evaluation of performing the behavior (i.e., attitude toward the behavior); and (d) a perceived ease of performing the behavior (i.e., perceived behavioral control). Respondents did not appear to perceive their viewership in ways that might be desirable to hospitality or tourism organizations. Implications for event stakeholders and hospitality/destination marketers are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)536-563
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Hospitality Marketing and Management
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Olympics
  • mega events
  • television viewership
  • theory of planned behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Marketing


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