Images of the just-released The Hunger Games: Catching Fire victory tour posters are circulating on the Internet and 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 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 the 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 archery and bowhunting industry’s trade show serves as a revenue generator to fund archery programs. Since the model was adopted, Archery Trade Association (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.”
At the 2012 National Target Championships and Easton Junior Olympic Archery Development (JOAD) Nationals, 357 youth and 180 adults competed. This is almost a complete reversal since 2001 when 171 youth and 383 adults competed at the same event.
JOAD Clubs, where youth can try archery, grew 79 percent from 2008 to 2012. Club attendance is increasing, too. Although recent media events are publicizing archery for the industry, Iaconi insists media isn’t the greatest recruiter.
“Kids are the best archery recruiters,” Iaconi said. “They feel like archery is unique and then get their friends to try it.”
Iaconi says USA Archery is working to accommodate increased interest, including hiring its first outreach director, Mary Emmons, and more than doubling its staff members since 2008. She credits the Archery Trade Association for helping expand archery programs.
“USA Archery and ATA’s goals are aligned in wanting to grow archery and youth archery programs, and reach the largest possible group of people,” she said. “ATA is an invaluable partner because they help establish archery programs in communities, and set them up for long-term success.”
To learn more about archery programs and places to shoot, visit www.archerytime.com.
Image courtesy Archery Trade Association