Television has been identified by the majority of Beijing
residents as the most important outlet for them to experience the
2008 Olympics with newspapers and radio coming behind the small
According to survey results released by researchers from the
Beijing Academy of Social Sciences (BASS), a respected think-tank
in the Chinese capital, 85 percent of those surveyed said they
would watch the 2008 Olympic Games on TV while 42 percent would
turn to newspapers and 35 percent the radio.
Almost a quarter--24 percent--said they would actually go to the
sports venues. However, just 18 percent of respondents said they'd
watch events on the Internet.
More than half of those surveyed, 52 per cent, said high prices
would prohibit them from buying tickets to events and 43 percent
said their work may not allow them time off to watch Olympic
Traffic was a concern for many respondents with 31 percent
believing traffic jams were likely but few mentioned the hot
weather as a likely problem during the Games.
BASS researchers Nian Wei and Wen Boneng did the survey last
year. They covered a community in downtown Beijing which had
"typical characteristics" of ordinary residents in the city they
They published the results in their book The Social Development
Report of China's Capital (2006) with a co-authored paper entitled
‘Research on the Sports Life and Olympic Knowledge of Community
Residents in Beijing.
A total of 54 percent of residents surveyed said they would
follow basketball during the Games while 53 percent said they
preferred table tennis. Soccer is a hot event with 49 percent of
respondents interested in it and volleyball is not far behind at 46
Only two percent said they would watch softball. The percentage
was the same for water polo, kayaking and modern pentathlon. In the
survey most males said they preferred soccer and basketball while
females liked to watch table tennis.
As to the motivation for watching events 49 percent of those
surveyed said they wanted to see the competitive skills of the
athletes while 45 percent said they liked the performance aspect.
And 45 percent also said they wanted to see Chinese athletes
achieve good results but few seemed to care about the atmosphere or
the cost of tickets.
Olympic ticket prices
Nian also predicted the average ticket prices for the 2008 Games
would be between US$20 and US$30.
Nian's research on Olympic ticket costs shows that the average
price for events since 1972 has accounted for between 0.1 and 0.5
per cent of the local per capita GDP. Nian said there should be a
gap between high and low-cost tickets for the 2008 Olympics.
He said per capita GDP for Beijing residents in the year 2008
could hit around US$6,000 and average ticket prices for the Games
should therefore be between US$6 and US$30. Taking in other factors
he thought the best price range could be between US$20 and
Nian told China Daily that he thought some sports would see
higher ticket prices such as basketball (US$39), diving (US$38),
swimming and boxing (both US$37), followed by track and field
events (US$36), synchronized swimming (US$34) and football
Low-cost events could include rowing and shooting (both US$10),
archery and softball (both US$9). "Other events could be priced
between US$11 and US$27," he said.
But some Beijingers have other ideas about ticket prices
according to the survey. Some 42 percent of residents said they
thought the average ticket prices for the Olympics should range
between 20 yuan (US$2.5) and 50 yuan (US$6.15).
Only 23 percent of residents responding to the survey said they
could accept prices ranging between 50 yuan (US$6.15) and 100 yuan
(US$12.3). None of the respondents said they wanted to spend over
1,000 yuan (US$123) on a ticket.
Nian said the people included in the survey sample had monthly
incomes ranging from less than 500 yuan (US$61.6) to over 3,000
"Though a range of US$20 to US$30 is far below the average
ticket prices for the Olympics in the past decades it may still be
hard to attract Beijing community residents to the sports venues,"
"I think ticket prices should be as low as possible so that we
common folks are willing to buy one to see an event and for me I
think 50 yuan (US$6.15) is OK," said Zhang Bin, a migrant worker
from East China's Shandong Province who works as a security guard
in Beijing's Chaoyang District.
Liu Huilin, an accountant in Haidian District, said she's
willing to accept a ticket price above 200 yuan (US$24.6). "The
Olympic Games in Beijing is a rare event and even if the prices are
a bit high I'd like to go," she said.
But locals see benefits. More than 70 per cent of those surveyed
told the researchers they thought hosting the 2008 Olympics could
help raise the international profile of the Chinese capital and 42
per cent said the event was helpful in improving the cultural
awareness of local people.
Some 41 per cent of the interviewees said Beijing's
infrastructure and environment would be improved by the Games and
37 per cent hoped the city's employment rate would increase as a
result of the event.
Some 28 per cent said they believed the sporting lives of
Beijing residents would be enriched. And 22 per cent thought city
urbanites would get wealthier.
Most people, at 68 per cent, said the city should provide
education on etiquette in the lead-up to the Olympics and 64 per
cent expected their English to improve.
More than half of the respondents, 54 per cent, wished to see
better publicity on security issues and 36 per cent believed
promoting Beijing's history and culture was important.
(China Daily July 28, 2006)