Editor's Note: A version of this article was published earlier this year on outdoorhub.com.
Images of the just-released "Hunger Games: Catching Fire" victory tour posters began circulating on the Web this earlier this year, feeding the frenzy for the movie, which won't hit theaters until Nov. 22, 2013.
It's a frenzy already fueled by "The Hunger Games" and "Brave" opening in theaters, archery being NBC's number-one cable ratings winner during the London Olympics, and "Revolution" and "Arrow" hitting their mark on TV. But has media hype translated into true archery interest? A report, produced in late 2012 by Caddis Interactive, begins to answer this question.
Caddis Interactive and the Archery Trade Assocation (ATA) analyzed keyword and content searches for "archery" and related topics. The resulting report shows archery has garnered more searches on a consistent basis with spikes coming from recent movies and the 2012 Summer Olympics.
The report also found:
- There was an increase in archery-related news references over the last four years, from 2008 to 2012.
- In 2004, archery-related news references were considered minimal outside of a small peak relative to that year's summer Olympics.
- Web coverage of archery news remained low until the 2008 Games. After that event, archery garnered more attention on a consistent basis with spikes coming from movies including "The Hunger Games" and the 2012 Summer Olympics.
- The United States and New Zealand tie for having the most Web searches for the keyword "archery" between 2010 and 2012; Australia, the United Kingdom and Canada round out the top five.
"Completing this report has been eye-opening," said Jake Fagan, president and co-founder of Caddis Interactive. "The report shows archery really is a global sport."
Analytics from August 2012 — the same time the latest summer Olympics were held — revealed New Zealand has the greatest amount of interest in archery content related to the Olympics. The U.K. and Australia follow, and the U.S. and Canada have the least amount.
With U.S. archer Brady Ellison ranked the world's No. 1 archer in 2011 and 2012, it may come as a surprise that Americans search less for Olympic archery than New Zealand, the U.K. and Australia.
Fagan said America's interest in bowhunting may account for seemingly less interest in Olympic archery. Although seven of top 10 cities for archery searches are in the U.S., American consumers search most for bows and bow manufacturers. In fact, Americans account for 45 percent of the world's 13.6 million Google searches for "bows."
Unlike bowhunting, which is largely limited to American participation, competitive archery has broad international appeal. Easier access to archery could be partly responsible for the surge in archery interest. The ATA's Trade Show serves as a revenue generator to fund archery programs. Since the model was adopted, ATA-member businesses have invested more than $15 million in programs to grow archery sports. With Katniss Everdeen as a fictional role model, and Ellison as a real-life, regular-guy — relatable to both competitive archers and bowhunters alike — kids are viewing the sport as something they'd like to try.
"Katniss has helped give archery a hip factor it's just never had before," said Teresa Iaconi, press officer for the USA Archery Team. "New movies are showing kids that archery isn't archaic and old-fashioned. As a result, participation is growing."
Featured USA Archery photo on News page, courtsey of Teresa Iaconi.