'Digital-first' strategy for Volvo Ocean Race as over 170 media outlets await start
The organisers of sailing’s Volvo Ocean Race have stressed “a shift towards digital coverage,” while retaining various traditional broadcasters to offer action from the 2017-18 event, which gets under way this weekend.
In all, there will be exposure on more than 100 broadcasters and in excess of 70 digital channels, which include TV network websites, newspapers, sailing trade publications and OTT channels.
In partnership with Sunset+Vine, the UK-based television sports production and media company that is the global distribution partner for the nine-month voyage, Volvo Ocean Race has targeted a mixed media offering, with an increased emphasis on online content.
This is reflected in partnerships with social media and technology companies including Twitter, Facebook and Apple to reach viewers on smartphones, desktop computers and tablets.
There are also regional digital tie-ups with the likes of Sina.com and Tencent in China, where attention will again be on the exploits of the Chinese Dongfeng Race Team (pictured), which is making its second appearance in the Volvo Ocean Race, plus Aftonbladet Sport in Sweden, Samsung in Asia and OutsideTV.com in USA.
There will be free-to-air and pay-TV coverage courtesy of broadcasters such as TVE/Teledeporte in Spain, RTP in Portugal, Canal Plus in France, Sky in the UK, TG4 in Ireland, NOS in the Netherlands, TV3 in Sweden, Sport TV in Turkey, TV Brasil in Brazil, SuperSport in South Africa, Fox Sports in Australia, Sky New Zealand and J-Sport in Japan.
This will be based around the one-hour race preview, nine 30-minute leg summary shows and a one-hour race review in August 2018.
However, the focus is on a digital offering that includes a regular live stream each month from the port stopovers featuring the in-port races and leg finishes and starts, a daily online update and analysis show from the race headquarters, a weekly race highlights show and daily team updates in the shape of video content posted directly from the seven boats on social media and other shareable platforms.
For the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race the organisers have taken production in-house for the first time and appointed their own onboard reporters for the series who will act as reporters, videographers and producers.
This is to ensure greater insight and a wider variety of content from the seven boats and engage more effectively with fans watching on digital platforms.
The 13th edition of the Volvo Ocean Race starts in Alicante in Spain on Sunday and will visit popular destinations in Cape Town, Melbourne. Hong Kong, Auckland, Itajai in Brazil and Newport in Rhode Island, USA, before finishing in The Hague in the Netherlands late in June 2018.
Leon Sefton, head of television at the race, said: “With our new crew communicator, we will have video footage going right from the boats 3,000 miles at sea into the hands of sports and sailing fans in an instant.
“Enhancing longer-form television content, we want fans to catch glimpses of our race and our incredible sailing footage on their social feeds via popular sports websites and on sports news shows in their home markets throughout the nine months of this competition.”
Andrew Pillar, head of media partnerships at Sunset+Vine, added: “Volvo has taken an exciting new digital-first approach to this race and Sunset+Vine is delighted to have played a key role in leveraging across not just traditional television networks but also the digital and social channels.
“There are more than 100 broadcasters taking the monthly programming output yet we are equally proud of the 70-plus digital channels broadcasting live including TV network .coms, international newspapers, sailing trade and OTT channels.”Sportcal