New Media Platforms Growing in Importance for International Federations

03.03.2014

The increasing importance of digital platforms as part of International Federations’ overall media strategies was brought sharply into focus during an online webinar staged by SportAccord Convention in collaboration with Media Partner SportBusiness International.

SportAccord General Director, Vlad Marinescu, International Orienteering Federation (IOF), President Brian Porteous and Essar Gabriel, the Secretary General of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), participated in the webinar, which was entitled ‘Sport’s New Frontiers: The Future of International Federations’ Media Rights Strategies’ and was moderated by Frank Dunne, Editor of TV Sports Markets.

Adapting to developing trends in the modern media world is a continuing challenge for all sports, particularly considering the options available to viewers.

Brian Porteous kicked off the discussion by explaining that the IOF has already adopted various digital innovations and techniques to improve coverage of orienteering.

“We try to take advantage of traditional broadcasting whilst trying to do the same in the digital world,” Porteous said.

“The challenge is finding the means of selling and promoting these.”

Fans of the sport are already able to access satellite tracking of their favourite athletes via the internet to complement television coverage. Such approaches allow the viewer to get closer to the action, acting as a turning point in the way the sport is portrayed to the public. 

“The breakthrough for us came through satellite tracking letting us see exactly where our athletes are,” Brian said. 

“Satellite tracking is attractive to younger audiences as it is so visually attractive. If we do nothing else, we can still broadcast our satellite tracking on the internet to create an almost virtual sport.

“Digital coverage sits very well alongside the traditional broadcasts as orienteering is ideal for second-screen viewing.”

Vlad Marinescu added that new technology should be embraced in order for sports coverage to continue to evolve.

“The world is ever-changing so you must be willing to change your own product to keep up with that,” Vlad said.

“It is important to follow technology, find the most beautiful way to show the sport, make it understandable and do the athletes justice.

“The internet is one of the most valuable platforms that International Federations have. It is very important to activate fans around the world on platforms like social media.”

Essar Gabriel supported Vlad’s viewpoint by saying that although the IAAF recognises television as still the media’s main platform, a focus on social media and online platforms is critical in ensuring that sports can remain relevant in the modern world.

“The non-television platforms are still secondary but they are important and can be used strategically,” Essar said.

“We want to make sure that our product is top-notch and we always have to look to try and make the job we do even better.

“We are using social media and are continually growing on these platforms. We also have to do a better job of linking our athletes with the Federation’s own digital platforms.”

Read our Storify of the Twitter activity around the webinar.