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Paralympic Games Continue to Drive Shift in Consumer Attitudes

3 minute read | September 2016

New York, NY – Sept. 8, 2016 – The percentage of people who believe the London 2012 Paralympic Games represented a breakthrough in how people with an impairment are viewed rose from 34% to 64% globally, findings from the new Nielsen Sports Paralympics and Para-Sports Report show.

The report, released today, shows how changing attitudes will have major implications for this month’s Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, not just in terms of challenging stereotypes, increasing inclusion and breaking down social barriers, but also the commercialization of the Games themselves.

Three times as many people around the world followed coverage of the London 2012 Paralympic Games compared to Beijing 2008 with a further increase expected at Rio 2016. The number of countries and athletes participating has also grown.

As an illustration of just how far the Paralympic Games has come as a driver for social change, post London 2012, 68% of people said the event had been inspiring and 48% wanted more coverage of Paralympic Sport.

This continuing shift in attitude is having a real impact on sponsorship too where today, four in five Millennials are more likely to buy from a brand that supports a cause.  

As a result, the Paralympic Games in Rio offer one of the best opportunities for brands looking to associate themselves with social responsibility, athletes and to engage specifically with a growing young audience.

Glenn Lovett, President, Global Strategy, Nielsen Sports, said: “Over the past decade or so the Paralympic Games has established itself as a major sporting event in its own right. It is about more than sport, and it is here where the International Paralympic Committee believes it has its unique selling point: as London 2012 showed, the Games can be a driver of social change that goes far beyond a stadium, helping to shift attitudes towards those with an impairment. There is much work still to be done around the world to further increase awareness of and interest in para-sport but at a time when many brands are seeking to attach themselves to social causes, the opportunity around the Paralympic Games is undeniable.”

Around 4,350 athletes from more than 160 countries are in Rio to compete in 528 medal events in 22 different sports. The Rio 2016 Paralympic Games run Sept. 7-18, 2016.


Nielsen Sports is the premier provider of analytics and insights within the sports industry, offering the most reliable source of independent and holistic market data in the sector and the most complete view of consumer trends and habits worldwide and has become the global leader in delivering tailored commercial solutions for teams, leagues, federations, brands, broadcasters and agencies. Combining solutions from sponsorship effectiveness to fan data capabilities with Nielsen’s understanding of consumer behavior and media consumption means it is uniquely positioned to help grow businesses through sport. Nielsen Sports’ brand exposure data and metrics are considered currency in the global sports marketplace. Coupled with its sponsorship data and Nielsen’s buyer intent and purchase data, it provides more than 1,700 clients with uniquely powerful and integrated solutions to help them make smarter business decisions.


Nielsen Holdings plc (NYSE: NLSN) is a global performance management company that provides a comprehensive understanding of what consumers Watch and Buy. Nielsen’s Watch segment provides media and advertising clients with Total Audience measurement services across all devices where content — video, audio and text — is consumed. The Buy segment offers consumer packaged goods manufacturers and retailers the industry’s only global view of retail performance measurement. By integrating information from its Watch and Buy segments and other data sources, Nielsen provides its clients with both world-class measurement as well as analytics that help improve performance.  Nielsen, an S&P 500 company, has operations in over 100 countries that cover more than 90 percent of the world’s population. For more information, visit


Tom Scott:+44 20 3220 0706+44 78 2499 1579