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Should Beijing be anticipating repeat visitors in 2022?

NEW YORK, NY – We’re barely past the halfway mark for 2015, so thinking ahead to 2022 might be seen as a bit of a stretch – but that’s just what the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is in the

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NEW YORK, NY – We’re barely past the halfway mark for 2015, so thinking ahead to 2022 might be seen as a bit of a stretch – but that’s just what the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is in the midst of doing. Given the degree of planning and construction which go into preparing an Olympic Games host city, planning ahead to this degree is essential – and as such, the IOC will announce the 2022 Winter Games’ host city on July 31st as part of the 128th IOC session in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The IOC’s final decision is between two finalists: Almaty, Kazakhstan and Beijing, China. If Beijing – which hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics – is selected, it will become the first city in history to host both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games. We’ll have to wait until Friday to see which city the IOC selects, but if the choice were in the hands of Americans then it could come down to a very close call indeed. By a very narrow margin, U.S. adults would select Beijing (52%) over Almaty (48%) – but the decision is far from universal.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,220 U.S. adults surveyed online between June 17 and 22, 2015.

As the results vary generation and gender, a resounding consensus is tough to nail down.

• Younger generations – particularly Millennials – favor holding the Games in Beijing (with 58% of Millennials and 53% of Gen Xers selecting China’s capital), while slim majorities of Baby Boomers and Matures lean toward Kazakhstan’s largest city (53% and 52%, respectively).

• Men are more likely to select Almaty (53%), while women are more likely to choose Beijing (57%).

Beijing leads more strongly on other measures

The close call between Beijing and Almaty would seem to fly in the face of some of the survey’s other findings.

When asked which city would have the most entertaining opening ceremony, Americans are three times as likely to select Beijing (75%) as they are to choose Almaty (25%).

• There is some generational variation – with Matures (81%) most likely to select Beijing and Gen Xers (67%) least likely to do so – but the consensus is consistently and resoundingly behind Beijing.

Might it come down to the city Americans would most like to visit themselves? When presented with the possibility of a company offering a chance to win a trip to the Olympic Games, and asked which city would most compel them to enter, interest in Beijing (28%) far exceeds that expressed for Almaty (11%).

• Interest in both cities diminishes as age increases, with the 39% of Millennials selecting Beijing dropping all the way to 15% among Matures; meanwhile the 15% of Millennials choosing Almaty drops down to 5% among Matures.

Ultimately though, the 2022 Olympics may prove a bit of a marketing challenge for such promotions. While 17% of Americans are unsure which would most motivate them, a resounding 44% – more than those selecting Beijing and Almaty combined – say none of these options would compel them to enter such a contest.

• As seen elsewhere in the survey, this does vary greatly by generation. Millennials are the most game audience for such promotions, with only 31% saying this (outpaced by the 39% of Millennials selecting Beijing). On the other end of the spectrum, over six in ten Matures (62%) say neither would drive them to enter such a contest.

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