Friday, 12 August 2016

Interest in Handball After One Week of Rio 2016

The Rio Olympics are now a week old and a good time to analyse the interest in handball raised by the Games. A quick way to get a window on this is to analyse the Wikipedia views that national associations receive. As might be expected Olympic Sports in which Team GB is doing well which are also popular in the UK are gaining hundreds of hits per day. For example as was the case four years ago the British Cycling page has well over 100 hits per day and went over 450 with the first gold in the velodrome yesterday evening. Similarly the British Swimming page is averaging well over 100 hits per day, bolstered by success in the pool. But when we turn to handball and compare it with some of the other minority team ball games and some of the minority sport in which Team GB has done well, handball is gaining a great deal of interest.

The table below shows a selection of Wikipedia page views from the first week of the Rio Olympics taken from British and English governing body and national association pages (due to time Scottish, Welsh & Northern Irish data could not be analysed). It should be noted that England Fencing does not have a Wikipedia page and British Rowing also acts as the governing body for England. The data shows that page views of the England Handball and British Handball Wikipedia pages compare excellently against the other sports shown. In fact so far the only days on which the England Handball Wikipedia page has not had the most views of these pages are 7 August when Team GB Fencing almost won Bronze and British Fencing Association had 170 views and 11 August when Team GB Rowing won a silver and the British Rowing Wikipedia page had 88 views compared with 74 views for England Handball. So in total the two handball pages have had 639 views which is more than double any of the others shown apart from Rowing on 363.
Wikipedia National Association Page Views
As predicted in a previous post, 'Can Rio Give Handball Another Boost?', the exposure that handball is getting due to the organisation of the schedule is a great advantage. Those surfing through the options online of which sport to watch are as likely to encounter handball as any other sport since the programme is across the day and also throughout the games. There are some points in the evening when handball makes it on to the featured options and also the BBC Red Button. This was true yesterday evening between the Cycling finishing in the Velodrome and the Late Swimming session. In this period there were only five live sports and as a result Slovenia's defeat of Sweden was featured on the Rio 2016 landing page.

Now that the Athletics is starting and the Cyclists look to be hitting form it will be interesting to see if handball can maintain this level of views.

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