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5 lessons about French interest in the Paris 2024 Olympics

The agency’s strategic planning takes a dive into the discussions on the web around the theme of the Paris 2024 Olympics. It emerges with 5 lessons, about expectations, frustrations, and the link with brands. On your marks, ready? Go!

For this review, our strategic planning focused on what conversations on social networks say about the expectations and feelings of the French a few months before the lighting of the Olympic flame in Paris. In particular, we were interested in the influence, positive or negative, of the event on brands.

The spectrum of the study thus covers:

  • The main topics of interest among French Internet users.
  • Their dominant feelings.
  • The most popular sports
  • The partner and non-partner brands that perform the best during this period.

To carry out this study, we used the Brandwatch solution.

Here are the 5 main lessons we learned from it.

1. Strong resentment of French people towards the event

Analysis of conversations since August 2023 clearly shows increasing peaks of negative conversations, particularly on X and on news sites.

Courbes de mentions en lien avec les JO de Paris 2024 sur le web conversationnel

A feeling which also concerns the Paralympic Games: the conversations underline Internet users’ impression of hypocrisy on the part of the organizing committee. The stated desire is to standardize the Games, but Internet users highlight the lack of measures put in place for accessibility for disabled people in the capital.

Exemples de mentions soulignant l'agacement des internautes concernant le manque d'accessibilité de la capitale

Finally, the study reveals a feeling of concern among the French about the image that France will give to the world during the Olympics. The most popular hashtags on the event are mainly used by the French (apart from the media and popular personalities) to show how worried they are about the impact in terms of image for France due to the poor management of the games .

Exemples de mentions soulignant l'inquiétude des Français quant à l'image que les Jeux à Paris vont renvoyer de la France


These two statistics summarize well the main feelings of the French towards the Olympic Games (Ipsos):

  • 35% are indifferent
  • 33% are worried

Bad decisions have exacerbated this ambient “fed up”, also leading to threats of strikes by hospitals, the RATP and even the police.

Exemples de messages détaillant les mauvaises décisions imputées aux organisateurs des JO de Paris

2. The marathon, swimming and rugby, the events most anticipated by the French

Rugby 7s: the big winner of team sports at the Olympics

The overwhelming majority of mentions at the peak concern the blue star of the French Rugby team, Antoine Dupont on his participation in the Olympics or not, for the rest the Rugby World Cup was a strong boost.

Handball ranks second, with attention shared between men’s and women’s teams. The peak comes in particular from the third coronation of the world champion women’s team.

Basketball and cycling are practically tied in this ranking.

Mentions concernant les sports en lien avec Paris 2024

The marathon: a key event of the Olympics, which appeals more and more to the French

Regarding individual sports, it is athletics that outperforms (unsurprisingly, it is true). The Olympic marathon is on everyone’s lips and far surpasses other disciplines.

A peak appears for the triathlon: this is in fact due to the athlete tests in the Seine, which had been canceled due to poor water quality.

Mentions concernant les sports individuels en lien avec Paris 2024

Some statistics concerning the practice of marathons by the French:

  • With the exception of the Covid period, in 2024 the French have never run so much. They represent 25% of the population.
  • 54,000: the number of participants in the 2024 Paris marathon, or 3,000 more than in 2023.
  • 38 years old: the average age of marathon participants was 41 in 2016; participants are getting younger and younger.
  • 46% of participants in the 2024 Paris Marathon were participating for the first time, i.e. 3 points more than in 2023.

The most anticipated area of ​​these Olympics: Swimming

A paradox: the French are not that interested in swimming… This enthusiasm is mainly due to the mystery of the depollution of the Seine, as well as to the inauguration of the Olympic aquatic center during which the French champion Alexis Jandard missed his dive.

Generally speaking, the French have high hopes for Léon Marchand and Maxime Grousset to bring home a medal.

Finally, surfing is notable for a peak in mentions linked to the controversy concerning the construction of a 14-meter tower for the event located in Tahiti, its construction potentially having major consequences on the surrounding coral.

3. French people generally against the politicization of sport and who demand equality in the Games.

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine is a very important subject for the French. The mentions on social networks underline the opposition of a significant part of the French against the decision of the International Olympic Committee to put Russian athletes under a neutral banner.

Mentions concernant les sports individuels en lien avec Paris 2024

Politicians like Anne Hidalgo and Emmanuel Macron do not hesitate to show their support for this decision. The French criticize political hypocrisy when it comes to acting in the same way with other countries that have also committed murderous acts.


4. A France which is however (very) proud of these athletes.

Regardless of their popularity, athletes are supported:

Mentions concernant le soutien des Français envers leurs athlètes

5. Partner brands put in the light… for better or for worse


The evolution curves of the volumes of mentions concerning the JO partner brands indicate that only a few brands have a significant impact in terms of mentions.
Volume de mentions concernant les marques partenaires des JO 2024, pour chaque niveau de partenariat

However, for some of the most mentioned brands, the detail of the mentions clearly shows that what people talk about the most are the negative themes. Thus, the partnership with the Olympic Games is double-edged: the spotlight it generates can reveal negative subjects, counterproductive for the brand. Here are some examples.

AIRBNB and Coca-Cola (global partners): a tainted image

Owners took advantage of the expected crowds for the Olympics to charge a high price for their accommodation. Forums have also been created to make the Olympics as profitable as possible for the latter. This phenomenon has rather contributed to giving bad publicity to the hosting site by individuals.

The Coca-Cola brand, for its part, is the victim of a scandal revealing that it will have exclusivity on the sale of drinks to the detriment of a 100% French brand: KOKO Kombucha.

Aperçus des bad buzzs concernant les marques Airbnb et Coca-Cola en lien avec les JO de Paris 2024

LVMH (premium partner): the most mentioned brand… especially for reviews

The LVMH brand is clearly dominant in terms of peak mentions. However, this volume of conversations on the web is mainly due to negative reviews: in particular, the supposed conflict of interest, due to the influence gained by Bernard Arnault with political decision-makers in exchange for the partnership concluded with his group of brands luxury.

IDF Mobilités: a criticism focused on the price of the metro ticket

IDF Mobilités is a “natural” partner of the Paris Olympic Games, given its key role in fan travel during the event. Unfortunately for the brand, this participation in the Olympics does not result in a renewed popularity, but in strong frustration linked to the increase in the price of the metro ticket from €2.10 to €4.

Aperçus des publications social media portant sur l'augmentation du prix du ticket de métro à Paris

Adidas: not a partner, but affected by collateral bad buzz

The Adidas brand is not a partner of the 2024 Olympics? That’s right. However, the brand is well associated with the sporting event, through the “naming” of one of the sports infrastructures where the Games will take place: in this case, the Adidas Arena, where the badminton events will be held. , rhythmic gymnastics, para-badminton and para-weightlifting.

Indeed, undocumented workers burst onto the Arena construction sites to demand regularization. The latter would have taken part in the construction of the Arena. Enough to tarnish, indirectly, the image of Adidas.

Aperçus des mentions portant sur le travail supposé de travailleurs sans papiers sur le chantier de l'Adidas Arena