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2016 Rio Olympic Games Will Be the Most ‘Social’ Games Ever


The 2016 Olympic Games are set to kick off in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on August 6th and Laurentian University Professor Dr. Ann Pegoraro will be studying how these Olympics play out in social media.  Dr. Pegoraro is an Associate Professor in the School of Sports Administration in Faculty of Management and is also the Director of the Institute for Sport Marketing a senate approved research centre at Laurentian.  The focus of her research work has been on the digital world for the past decade, being one of the first researchers to recognize the impact that social media would have on the sports world.

During the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Dr. Pegoraro worked with colleagues to study the role of social media around these games. With Dr. Marion Hambrick, she studied the development of networks around three games related hashtags: an organic hashtag (#sochiproblems), a hijacked hashtag (#cheerstosochi) and a team related hashtag (#wearewinter). In a paper entitled “Echo chambers and the organic: A comparative analysis of traditional and social media framing of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games” the content associated with the organic hashtag, #Sochiproblems was further investigated with Dr. Evan Frederick and Dr. Lauren Burch. Dr. Pegoraro also joined a team that investigated if any dissent was evident on the official hashtag of the games (#Sochi2014) and found that individuals did use this hashtag to voice some dissent around the Games. Turning to a more marketing focus, Dr. Pegoraro lead a project that investigated the brand impact for Olympic sponsor McDonald’s from the hijacking of their marketing activation hashtag (#cheerstosochi) by LGBTQ activists and partnered with researchers from the University of Ottawa to study the use of social media as an activation tool by top Olympic sponsors.

During the past two years, Dr. Pegoraro has worked with the Canadian Olympic Committee to share her knowledge of social media and build capacity within National Sport Federations. This relationship with the COC has provided new research opportunities and ideas and Dr. Pegoraro will definitely be watching the Rio Games closely, all the while she and colleagues will be collecting research data from various social media platforms.  A strong supporter of Canada and its athletes, don’t be surprised to see Dr. Pegoraro on campus wearing red throughout the Olympics to support #TeamCanada and sharing her support on Twitter (@sportmgmtprof) #GoCanadaGo. 

Further reading on Dr. Pegoraro's research was also featured on Affinio! Follow the link to find out more