SOURCE: The Nielsen Company

August 12, 2008 19:04 ET

Phelps Winning in the Pool and With Fans Online

Nielsen Online Reports Buzz on Athletes From Popular Olympic Sports

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - August 12, 2008) - Michael Phelps is winning both in the pool and online, as fans take to blogs and message boards to discuss Phelps' quest to win eight Olympic gold medals. In an analysis of online discussion, Nielsen Online, a service of The Nielsen Company, reported that among more than 50 high profile athletes competing in Olympic basketball, gymnastics, beach volleyball and swimming events, Michael Phelps was the most buzzed-about athlete (Table 1). Among these four sports, swimmers led in overall volume with 46 percent of the discussion, followed by basketball players with 38 percent (Table 2). Basketball's Yao Ming, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James drove discussion as the U.S. and China faced off in the preliminary round.

Table 1: Fifteen most buzzed-about athletes from basketball, gymnastics, beach volleyball and swimming competitions, based on messages posted between August 4 and August 10, 2008

        Athlete                Sport              Country
        1.Michael Phelps       Swimming           United States
        2.Yao Ming             Basketball         China
        3.Kobe Bryant          Basketball         United States
        4.LeBron James         Basketball         United States
        5.Dara Torres          Swimming           United States
        6.Shawn Johnson        Gymnastics         United States
        7.Laure Manaudou       Swimming           France
        8.Kerri Walsh          Beach Volleyball   United States
        9.Katie Hoff           Swimming           United States
        10.Misty May-Treanor   Beach Volleyball   United States
        11.Yi Jianlian         Basketball         China
        12.Park Tae-Hwan       Swimming           South Korea
        13.Grant Hackett       Swimming           Australia
        14.Natalie Coughlin    Swimming           United States
        15.Nastia Liukin       Gymnastics         United States

Source: Nielsen Online, BuzzMetrics

Table 2: Share of buzz volume between August 4 and August 10, 2008

        Athletes                       Share of Buzz Volume
        Swimmers                       46
        Basketball players             38
        Gymnasts                       9
        Beach Volleyball players       7

Source: Nielsen Online, BuzzMetrics

"It appears that swimming is benefitting from a number of interesting stories this year, including Michael Phelps' race for gold, Dara Torres' return to the games and Park Tae-Hwan's win to bring home South Korea's first-ever gold medal in swimming," commented Jon Gibs, vice president, media analytics, Nielsen Online. "As other events build momentum and the track and field competition begins, it will be interesting to follow the fan favorites online."

About Nielsen Online:

Nielsen Online, a service of The Nielsen Company, delivers comprehensive, independent measurement and analysis of online audiences, advertising, video, consumer-generated media, word of mouth, commerce and consumer behavior, and includes products previously marketed under the Nielsen//NetRatings and Nielsen BuzzMetrics brands. With high quality, technology-driven products and services, Nielsen Online enables clients to make informed business decisions regarding their Internet, digital and marketing strategies. For more information, please visit

About The Nielsen Company:

The Nielsen Company is a global information and media company with leading market positions in marketing information (ACNielsen), media information (Nielsen Media Research), online intelligence (NetRatings and BuzzMetrics), mobile measurement, trade shows and business publications (Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter, Adweek). The privately held company is active in more than 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA. For more information, please visit,

Contact Information

  • Media Contacts:
    Suzy Bausch
    (415) 617-0181

    Michelle McGiboney
    (408) 941-2930