English Alpine Champs – Event Coverage

Every year, 400+ young ski racers head to Bormio for the English Alpine Champs, organised by Snowsport England. But how does the event get covered?

Again, this is part of my job at Snowsport England – but I get to leave the office for a week of sun/snow/wind/rain – whatever the Italian weather system throws at us.

2016 was my first year of covering the event, and I got thrown in at the deep end – finding out 2 days before my flight that I was required to go after a colleague dropped out. This lead to little time to plan a strategy for the week.

DSC_0310

2017 however, I had a few months to put together a plan abolut what I wanted to achieve from the week and how I was going to do so. With my phone contract being on 3, I get free internet abroad – something I was eager to make the most if, and ensure a constant coverage.

I opted to primarily use Facebook as this is the platform most of the parents use for information and results. Twitter would be linked to Instagram and we’d post race updates and a few snaps on their, whilst Instagram would be 3 or 4 photos a day of “behind-the-scenes” style shots – leaving the action shots to Racer Ready Ski Magazine.

I was eager to see how well we could stream Live from the mountains on Facebook – the Live Timing feature on the website from 2016 had been a big hit with the parents. I ended up streaming 2 or 3 hours a day from the side of the race piste – with each stream reaching over 4,000 people, gaining lots of interaction and compliments from parents who were tuning in from work to see their Little Johnny or Jessica ski past. Due to it all being done by myself, we were limited to one camera angle and my commentary as well.

EAC Snap

It was by far the most successful part of the coverage, and something I’ll certainly replicate next year.

Every evening, the press release from that day would get uploaded to the Snowsport England website, as well as the results from that day and the start lists for the next day. The release and various links would then get communicated out over Facebook and Twitter channels, tagging sponsors and relevant athletes.

Aims

My aim was to provide information and results to the parents of athletes back home, as well as supply them with as much media (photos or video) as possible. I also wanted to spread the word of the event as far as wide as possible.

Target Audience

Primarily parents of athletes and supporters of the champs, but also anyone interested in ski racing, or skiing in general who might want to get involved.

Strategies

2016 was my first year of covering the event, and I got thrown in at the deep end – finding out 2 days before my flight that I was required to go after a colleague dropped out. This lead to little time to plan a strategy for the week.

DSC_0310

2017 however, I had a few months to put together a plan abolut what I wanted to achieve from the week and how I was going to do so. With my phone contract being on 3, I get free internet abroad – something I was eager to make the most if, and ensure a constant coverage.

I opted to primarily use Facebook as this is the platform most of the parents use for information and results. Twitter would be linked to Instagram and we’d post race updates and a few snaps on their, whilst Instagram would be 3 or 4 photos a day of “behind-the-scenes” style shots – leaving the action shots to Racer Ready Ski Magazine.

I was eager to see how well we could stream Live from the mountains on Facebook – the Live Timing feature on the website from 2016 had been a big hit with the parents. I ended up streaming 2 or 3 hours a day from the side of the race piste – with each stream reaching over 4,000 people, gaining lots of interaction and compliments from parents who were tuning in from work to see their Little Johnny or Jessica ski past. Due to it all being done by myself, we were limited to one camera angle and my commentary as well.

EAC Snap

It was by far the most successful part of the coverage, and something I’ll certainly replicate next year.

Every evening, the press release from that day would get uploaded to the Snowsport England website, as well as the results from that day and the start lists for the next day. The release and various links would then get communicated out over Facebook and Twitter channels, tagging sponsors and relevant athletes.

Results

I was pretty stoked on how the strategy played out. Surprisingly, the Live stream that I thought would go down the best with our audience actually had the least reach. The Parallel Night Slalom is very spectator friendly as it’s a Team Vs Team, and it was in the evening, which suited the audience back in the UK (who would have finished work). However it only reached a few thousand, compared to the other Live streams from individual races which hit 4 or 5 thousand people. I believe it’s because all the people who were interested in or had athletes involved in the Night Slalom were already out in Bormio – but that’s just a guess.

We had a great reception from the coverage, particularly the inclusion of Live streaming as well as the press releases and the breadth of coverage (across several channels and pages, not just the one fb page).

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