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#Paris2024: French citizens react to the Olympics on Twitter

4 October 2017

Expert System used its cognitive technology Cogito to analyze 31,000 tweets from September 5-20 dedicated to the announcement of the 2024 Olympics coming to Paris

After a major promotional campaign, the selection of Paris as host of the 2024 Olympic Games was announced on September 13. For several months, French citizens, especially Parisians, have been sharing their opinions on Twitter. What is the sentiment shared in those tweets? And what are the topics most discussed?

To respond to these questions, Expert System used its cognitive technology, Cogito, to monitor and analyze the options expressed by users on Twitter from September 5-20. The analysis was carried out on a sample of 31,000 tweets in French associated with the most-used hashtags for the 2024 Olympics such as #jo2024, #Paris2024, #Génération2024, #Jeux2024 #Olympiques2024, #JeuxOlympiques, #JeuxOlympiques2024, #NonAuxJO2024, #contrejo2024, #joParis2024, #jo2024Paris.

A majority of tweets (68%) expressed neutral opinions about the Olympic Games, while 26% expressed positive sentiment and only 6% of tweets were identified as having negative aspects.

The opinions expressed on Twitter were often in conflict: the beauty of sports with concern for the expense of the event and the inconvenience that events such as the Olympic Games often cause.

Olympic pride: Sport and positive values triumph
Sport—in its many forms—was the main topic discussed
, and cited in more than 27,000 tweets. In the sample of 31,000 tweets analyzed, more than 50 different sports were referenced, with soccer, tennis and rugby mentioned most often. In general, the tweets transmitted positive sentiment related to the sporting spirit (merit, respect, ethics), but also to the patriotic spirit (freedom, equality, fraternity, solidarity, union).

The theme of “pride” relating to hosting the paralympic games also emerged from the tweets (also thanks to the 28 medals won by France at the Rio Paralympic Games), which was mentioned in 2,332 tweets. “Women” and women’s issues were mentioned in 1,308 tweets, while “doping” was mentioned 262 times.

The nomination of Paris as host city for the 2024 Olympic Games sparked joy and enthusiasm on Twitter with more than 35,105 positive comments ranging from satisfaction to patriotism (pride, flag). The theme of joy was often found in the sample of tweets analyzed, where the event seems to also carry a strong spirit of community and sharing (unity, diversity, cohesion).

From the tweets, there seems to emerge (in 1,770 tweets) a renewed spirit of competition (challenge, ambition, engage) and a great need for change (5,921 mentions). Finally, the theme of youth was also prominent (more than 4,000 times in the total of 31,000 tweets analyzed).

The financial aspect appears approximately 21,731 times (budget, expense, debit). The Olympics are considered an opportunity in 5,192 instances (occasion, chance) for the development and growth of France, for its expansion (16,235 mentions) and for a greater ecological commitment, to increase tourism and to create new jobs (employment, work, etc.)

The other side of the coin
An anti-Olympic sentiment around Paris as the host city was also present in the tweets (against, opposition, conflict; disaster, failure, nightmare, scandal, shame, hate). French citizens against the Olympic Games expressed alarmist and pessimistic sentiment (crisis, problems, complaints, damage, tension).

The anti-Olympics tweets expressed concern over public spending to sustain the cost of the event could become a tax (contributions, taxes) with 2,052 mentions, while the topic of debt is mentioned 3,203 times. Over this period, Hurricane Irma (4,593) highlighted the financial aspect of the games in a new light in terms of priorities and allocation of funds.

In addition, the theme of stress also emerged in the tweets (in 5,244 tweets of the 31,000 analyzed). Some users are “doubtful,” others are “on alert” (attention, urgency, vigilance) while others are “fearful” (apprehension, threat, risk, hell). In the stress-themed tweets, two main causes are mentioned: transportation problems, movement and parking lots as a result of new construction, with 5,050 tweets (traffic, bottlenecks, congestion), questions of security with 6,319 mentions (security, terrorism, attempts, violence, attack).

The Olympic Ambassadors
The people most cited in the sample of tweets analyzed are from politics and sports, especially the International Olympic Committee and, less frequently, sports and finance and economics journalists. The top three people mentioned were Emmanuel Macron (7%), Anne Hidalgo (6%) and Tony Estanguet (5%); François Hollande, Thomas Bach, Teddy Riner and Wladimir Andreff were also mentioned.