A sensational summer of sport is drawing to an end and we all know anecdotally how well received it has been, but what does the data say?
If we look at YouGov’s SportsIndex and focus in on the Olympics and Paralympics it tells the story very clearly: a nervous spring followed by an actively worried July, suddenly turning to a joyous summer.
The buzz chart shows that the Olympics had maintained a respectable level in the mid-20s for net buzz throughout the spring, dropping as low as +1 by 18 July before steadily climbing to highs in the +60s in August.
Buzz for the Paralympics grew steadily as the Olympics progressed, and then grew again once the Games kicked off (hitting +59 yesterday).
To understand just how good these scores are, compare London 2012 to Wimbledon, itself a fantastic success, which peaked at a lower level of +49.
With the index score (a composite of six key image measures), what I find interesting is not the high peak scores of +49 for the Olympics and +37 for the Paralympics.
What’s fascinating is the pattern – for the Olympics there were lingering concerns right up to the opening ceremony, followed by a rapid, large and sustained rise as the Games went on. The public weren’t expecting it to be great, but it was.
With the Paralympics, the rise comes before the Games start and is then sustained. Buoyed by the success of the Olympics, the public expected more great things from the Paralympics and they delivered.
Arguments abounded right up until the Olympics started about whether it was worth it, and should we be hosting them; those arguments have disappeared now and one thing that our politicians can take away from this is that what the public really care about is successful delivery.
And taking a step back from the data, the cheering of Seb and Boris these past few weeks has been very telling indeed.
Stephan Shakespeare is the chief executive of YouGov