Half of young British TV viewers to “double screen” during Euro 2012, Wimbledon and the Olympics

49% of 18-24 year olds intend to discuss the summer of sport on social networks whilst watching events unfold on TV

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If you’re going to try and avoid the impending summer of sport, you’ve (ironically enough) set yourself something of an Olympian task, and those seeking sanctuary from Euro 2012Wimbledon and the London 2012 Olympic Gamess should perhaps know that they won’t find it on the web…

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In fact, you can expect to see very little but sport trending on Twitter or flagged on Facebook over the summer, as almost half of Britain’s young people plan to chat about this year’s biggest fixtures on-line while the events unfold on TV.

49% of 18-24 year olds and 45% of people aged 25-34 intend to vent their feelings about the summer’s sport on social networks while they’re tuned in, according to a YouGov survey commissioned by Freeview, and a fifth (21%) of the 2000 people polled said that they would also be sharing and discussing the nation’s big sporting events via text messages.

10% of potential sports viewers also expressed the opinion that reading tweets or seeing online discussion about the events would tempt them to tune in too, and during just the 17 days of the Olympic Games the British public is expected to send an estimated (and staggering) 186m tweets.

In fact, discussing sport online could potentially prove more popular than doing so in real life, at least amongst the young, as only 48% of all individuals polled said that they were planning to discuss the summer of sport face to face with other people.

Responding to the findings, media analyst Kate Bulkley said: “It’s more fun to be patriotic in a group, even if it’s an e-group like Twitter.”

However, few of these on-line commentators will actually use their web-enabled devices to watch the sport they’re discussing as 72% of people claimed they’d be tuning in via their TVs, leaving 14% of people watching on laptops, 10% via desktops, 7% on smartphones and only 5% through tablet devices.

Respondents also indicated that the majorty of people will be watching this summer’s sport in the living room (64%) alongside their nearest and dearest: 57% of people intend to watch with their partner, 40% with family and 25% with friends, leaving only 12% who’ve elected to tune in alone.

Ilse Howling, managing director of Freeview, said: “This unprecedented summer of sport promises to be the most exciting in our lifetime as the nation joins together in living rooms up and down the country to enjoy the epic moments as they unfold.

“Despite the growth of smartphones and tablets in recent years, the report highlights the importance of the shared viewing experience as we look forward to watching landmark sporting events.”

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Are you planning on tweeting your way through the summer of sport, or are you going to be forced to take a social network sabbatical for the next three months? Post a comment and let us know…