RS:X CLASS MEDIA STRATEGY
To make the RS:X Class the flag carrier for elite windsurf racing in the eyes of the press and the public by putting in place our own class media team and working closely with ‘professional’ event organisers/promoters to attract the general public to the venue and to the event website
Imagine that, at every major championship we stage, the general public comes in large numbers not because suddenly everyone is mad keen on windsurfing but because together with the LOA and his partners, our events have been organised with more than just great racing in mind.
Imagine also that a class media team is producing lively and creative content for the web and for direct transmission to a large screen in the event village. Content that brings out the personalities in the fleet and tells of their struggle to be the very best they can be using tools with which the You Tube generation are familiar.
Finally imagine, that the class has looked closely at what it does and has made the changes it must to ensure that our racing is as attractive and exciting as possible
Now you begin to understand what the RS:X class has to achieve if it is going to fulfil its potential. Creating events like this takes dedication, hard work, time and money plus one other key ingredient… a strategy for achieving the vision
a) Develop a clear message
b) Make our racing as attractive and understandable as possible
c) Develop a detailed vision of our ideal event
d) Identify and work with ‘professional’ event organisers
e) Dedicated class media team
f) Use a range of the latest delivery platforms
DEVELOP A CLEAR MESSAGE
- To make the RS:X Class the flag carrier for elite windsurf racing in the eyes of the press and the public
- To demonstrate that Olympic windsurf racing is an extremely attractive and dynamic sport
- To demonstrate that One Design windsurf racing represents the extreme end of competition in the Olympic Games
- To show that the RS:X Class and therefore it’s athletes are the embodiment of the Olympic ideals
A very important part of making our message as clear as possible to the maximum number of people, be they the media or spectators is to make our racing as easy to understand as possible.
This does not mean that we should get rid of our existing format, for example, which we know works well technically but it does mean that we should use every opportunity to make our racing as attractive and eye catching as possible.
And when we have caught people’s eye, we should make sure that as much information is available to them without specialist explanation so turn the page…
MAKE OUR RACING AS ATTRACTIVE AND UNDERSTANDABLE AS POSSIBLE
To ensure that the racing and our major events are as attractive as possible and thus appeal to the media and the general public, we should consider how to…
- HOW TO MAKE THE FLEETS AS COLOURFUL AS POSSIBLE
The grey tint on the sails is the same tone as the sea on a cloudy day which makes them difficult to see
Replace the grey tint with gold for the men and red for the women to achieve maximum impact in all conditions (NP to action)
- HOW TO MAKE SAILS AS GRAPHICALLY INTERESTING AS POSSIBLE
- Existing sail numbers are difficult to read (even for the coaches with binoculars) from a distance
- Cameramen find it difficult to pick out a rider quickly because all the sails are the same
Make the sails more graphically interesting by adding national flags (100cms X 50cms) so that countries are easy to identify
- HOW TO MAKE WORLD RANKINGS OBVIOUS
- - the other Olympic classes being dinghies or keel boats have hulls on which to display bow numbers indicating world rankings, giving the spectator useful information
- The sail number does not relay any information apart from the country letters
- Ensure that sailors carry event seeding numbers (issued by the LOA) so that each sailor has a unique number.
- HOW TO ALLOW A CAMERAMEN OR PHOTOGRAPHER TO TAKE A ‘CLOSELY FRAMED’ IMAGE WHICH CONTAINS THE MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF INFORMATION
- Sail numbers are too high on the sails so do not appear in a ‘closely framed’ shot
- Sailors do not have their names on their sails
- Supply sailors with their self adhesive name stickers to fix just above batten #5
- Stencil sailor name above event seeding number on the back of the Lycra vest.
- Ask sailors to confine all their advertising to the area below the boom
- HOW TO MAKE IT AS EASY AND AS WORTHWHILE AS POSSIBLE FOR SAILORS TO MAKE THEMSELVES AVAILABLE FOR PRESS OPPORTUNITIES
- What suits the press in terms of timing does not always suit the sailors
- The RS:X should employ an Event Media Team to implement a well worked out media plan (inc daily media events schedule) and communicate this to sailors, coaches and national authorities as well as to the press generally so that expectations can be created and then fulfilled
- The class should insist that their LOA provides a purpose built exterior stage with the necessary sponsor back-drops and wings to hold press interviews and daily colours ceremonies
- The class should engage the riders in the process
SO WHAT SHOULD OUR IDEAL EVENT LOOK LIKE ON LAND
For those who have been to the World Windsurf Festival in Mondello, Sicily, the idea that the general public can be attracted to the venue in large numbers is not a dream but a reality.
Take a look: Photo
Albaria not only deal with the technical aspects of a regatta but also stage a ‘show on the beach’ with a large covered stage, bands and Lycra clad lovelies all presented by a professional speaker.
These shows are covered by national TV; deliver real value to their sponsors and attract the public in their 1000s making an event village complete with its own restaurant a viable commercial possibility.
So here are the key ingredients
- COVERED CONCERT STAGE WITH A PROFESSIONAL PRESENTER
The centre of this activity has to be a large stage on the beach with a professional presenter.
- By day (schedule)
Daily regatta press conference
Outside Broadcast unit from a local commercial radio station stages a ‘road show’
- And by night
The show on the beach involving national and local bands etc
This is a commercial enterprise and requires the organising club or MNA to partner with a professional TV producer/radio station to make this happen and give the whole thing the oxygen of publicity necessary to attract the crowds
- VERY LARGE TV SCREEN
- Results from the online dynamic scoring software
- Live steaming of racing images with course commentary
- Interviews with athletes ‘live’ from the finishing area
- Podcast interviews etc…
- Library film clips of RS:X action
- EVENT VILLAGE
- Space offered to event sponsors to show off their products
- And National Team sponsors to show off their products
- Rent units to ‘beach lifestyle’ retailers
- Local windsurfing school to offer ‘try it’ windsurfing lessons and simulator sessions
- Information desk
- EVENT SIGNAGE AND BRANDING
- This must start at the point of arrival (airport) and include the nearest town/village
- Signage on site should direct the public to information desks so that they can find out where everything is when they arrive
- This should be carried through to the event website so that the public can find out what the entertainment schedule is day by day
- PITS AREA
- Competitor pits area presented in a professional way with each national team in its own tent flying its national flag
- Branded with national team sponsors
- Public separated from the team areas by crowd control barriers
- SPECTATOR BOATS
- The LOA must offer the public the opportunity to go out in spectator boat
- Complete with live commentary
- Tickets available from the information tent in the ‘village’
- Spectator boat has course commentary relay on the PA system
- IDENTIFY AND WORK WITH ‘PROFESSIONAL’ EVENT ORGANISERS
As an Olympic Class, ISAF makes us alone, through its Olympic Class Contract ‘, responsible for all of our world and continental championships which are not Olympic Qualification events (For which they retain ultimate control) regardless of the appointment of an organising authority or club or other agent to act as event organizers of all or part of the event.
It would therefore seem logical that we are responsible for not only the technical aspects of these events but also marketing and media aspects as well. To date we have not been pro-active enough in vetting bids that are put forward and therefore may well have accepted bids that we may later come to regret.
It is therefore necessary that we work as pro-actively as we can with the established event organisers going forward to ensure that all aspects of the proposed event are given the emphasis that they are due.
Having said that, we must revise our event contract on acceptance of this document as official Class policy and on receipt of financial support from Neil Pryde.
Please note that we have not completed agreements for the 2011 European Championships and 2012 Europeans and World Championships yet so we do have an opportunity to work with the event organisers who wish to bid for these events so that we can ‘form’ their bids to meet our new requirements before they are put to the Class AGM for approval
NB. The current ISAF Olympic Classes contract bans an Olympic class from making prize money a requirement in its event contract with a local organiser. We must lobby ISAF to change this.
DEDICATED CLASS MEDIA TEAM
- The RS:X Class should employ its own media team to work at major events so that it can manage the content created, ensure effective distribution and promote the class as cost effectively as possible.
- Key members are
To stage manage media opportunities such as the daily ‘Yellow Jersey’ ceremony; press conferences; the post medal race ‘awards ceremony’ for the press; and the opening and closing ceremonies (in conjunction with the LOA)
To manage the dynamic on line scoring software
EVENT STILLS PHOTOGRAPHER
2 man team
- Manages outside inside press
- Deals with media inquires
- Daily report/Blog
VIDEO PRODUCTION TEAM
- 2 man team to start with
THE DELIVERY PLATFORMS
It is important that the class use a range of the latest delivery platforms to get its message across to both the public and professional media outlets. We live in the You Tube Generation where traditional TV and Film is being quickly overtaken by on line video productions that can be made by very often by talented amateurs.
This is anyway where we will have to start as the money is just not available to pay so called professionals to do the job. In fact, they would probably not be worth the price they would charge because they would lack the vital ingredient… passion for the sport we love.
So here are the platforms we should use…
- VENUE WIDE WIFI HOT SPOT
It is essential that key areas of the event site have powerful WiFi broadband internet connections. .This may involve several relays to boost the signal and shall include one ‘secure’ system and one ‘open’ system.
1. Results Room
2. Race Management Office
3. Press Room
1. Competitors Lounge
2. Event Village (Information desk & Large TV Screen)
- DYNAMIC ON LINE SCORING SOFTWARE
- This was tried for the first time in New Zealand and proved a real success in providing almost instant mark rounding and finishing information on the web
- Plus an alert system so that individuals can sign up to receive ‘alerts’ by text or mail for a specific rider(s)
- The next stage is to develop ‘LIVE’ tracking of the medal races and integrate the scoring software into the RS:X website
- LIVE STREAMING AND COURSE COMMENTARY
- With relatively inexpensive semi pro movie camera, a good microphone, a laptop computer, data card and a streaming server, we can deliver LIVE video reports from the water before, during and after races
- The commentator can have access to the data being provided by the scoring software via his laptop computer but also giving the public/media the atmosphere of what is happening and indeed what is about to happen.
- This feed can be shown both of the large TV screen ashore and on the web
Audio reports on the day’s events, interviews with the stars, goings-on behind the scenes and opinions downloaded onto your MP3 player as you sleep
- VIDEO BLOG
To give some atmosphere of the championship, background happenings, answer frequently asked questions, interview racers and give their informal/personal view of the event
- STILL PHOTOGRAPHS
Some of the best shots of the racing, racers etc should be placed on the event micro-site daily. Some others should be retained so that each major windsurfing magazine can be offered ‘cover shots’ featuring their own nationals. All images from the event should be available free of charge and free of rights.
- DAILY REPORTS AND EVENT BLOG
- The dynamic scoring software allows for minute by minute developments in the days racing to be posted on the scoring page of the website as they happen.
- A blog will allow the event journalist to give fuller informal reports as deemed necessary in a light hearted way. These would appear on Facebook and the event micro site
- Formal daily reports for the MNAs and media should be produced.
- EVENT MICROSITE
- Given all the above developments, the RS:X website should evolve to fully integrate them.
- A content management system is a key requirement allowing authorised people to upload their content individually.
- Such things as a daily programme schedule should be incorporated.
- MEDIA BOATS/HELICOPTER
- One Media boat for every six photo-journalist driven by experienced racers who can get close to the action without interfering with the racing
- Helicopter flights to carry the event photographer and camera crew
- OLYMPIC WINDSURFING TV
- The Class should adopt a step by step approach (see Appendix 1- Let’s do it – Step by Step) and control the output material especially that shot on water. Professional crews have a hard time understanding the dynamics and speeds involved in Olympic Windsurfing and so produce footage that is not really representative.
- Developing this project should rely on the snowball effect. Growing organically bigger all the time and coordinated by one person.
- Finished product will be available to national authorities, competitors and Neil Pryde distributors free so that they have some of the tools to promote Olympic windsurfing and themselves at the national and local level.
- The material should show that we are a big class with many countries; and it should feature not only the best sailors, but also the rookies and some people who do it against all the odds.
- The aim, from the start, is to shoot in High Definition and to produce high quality material able to be used on TV
- EVENT RADIO SHOW
With a tie up with a local radio station who may also be working the large stage area, a radio outside broadcast van should be broadcasting music through the PA system and telling visitors what is going on before they arrive and when they are on site.
OLYMPIC WINDSURFING TV
LET’S DO IT - step by step.
- Step 1: – Collect existing footage
- Collect as much material from RS:X sailors as possible to make some short 3-5 min dynamic video, which should be used for promotional purposes; it should show the strength of the class and the fact that it came from nothing in 2005 to solid Olympic class, which is competitive and exciting to watch
- Many sailors have some footage. This should be collected together and the best used to build a library, which can be used now and also in the future.
- Step 2: – Pre race action shots
- To upgrade the video from step 1 with some interesting shots taken by racers on water using a pen camera couple of days before a big regatta
- Step 3: – Daily 5 minute video diary and life style video
- To produce approx. 5 min video daily featuring action, interviews as well as beach life and post it on the internet using 1 or 2 cameramen crew attending both the European and World Championships.
- Distribution on the web and seen on the large screen on the beach
- Post Championship video production to make a 15-25 min feature using shots from step 1 and 2 combined with daily action footage and some ‘behind the scenes’ footage shot at the event. This feature should be about the life-style of Olympic windsurfing and could cover the equipment, lifestyle, some of the stars or underdogs of the circus. Available on DVD within a month after the event.
- Step 4: – Full TV Production
- To include visual 3D graphics
- Bigger camera crew shooting the actual races from different angles and making the reports from actual parts of the race;
- This material could and should be used by some of the TV stations. After previous steps it should not be a problem to convince them that we are interesting class to watch and talk about
- The program broadcast on sport channel should be around 30 minutes; there will be about 1 minute shot with the commentary available for TV news on every day basis – big regattas, not just the days of racing but also the registration and lay days
- Distribution on the web and seen on the large screen on the beach
- Step 5: – Multi camera shoot with live feed
- Live footage using three cameras on the water, one in the water with a swimmer and one on a crane or in a helicopter with images mixed in an outside Broadcast unit (OB truck) on the shore and shown on the web and seen on the large screen on the beach. Serious sponsorship required to cover production costs!
2008 RS:X WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
During the Championship and through the dynamic on line scoring software, we offered visitors the opportunity to subscribe to an ‘Alert’ system so that they could receive either an SMS or Email telling them each time the sailor(s) of their choice finished a race and his position. Approximately 700 people took up this opportunity and they received 20,000 + alerts
20,000 + Alerts Sent To 700+ Registered Subscribers
2008 RS:X WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP RESULTS WEBSITE STATISTICS
January 10th – 19th
16.33 GB Of DataTransferred To 4,500 +/- Individual Visitors Per Day
NB. 2007 RS:X European Championships Attracted 21,611 Individual Visitors During The Ten Day Period Of The Regatta As Against 39,161 At The 2008 RS:X World Championships Over The Same Period… Nearly Double The Number!