HOST CITY: What kind of support do organisers need most to manage the huge numbers of press that come to a mega sports event?
Guido Bouw: A well organised event serves as a foundation for positive press coverage. Organisers must focus their attention on all of the different elements that can make or break an event.
From a media perspective, we’ve found journalists benefit greatly from fluid access to the various elements of a major event which enables them to focus on their jobs and deliver quality coverage of the event. This includes access to:
- The sports event and event venues
- Timely information around the event and its participants to support storytelling across multiple platforms including TV, print, online and social media
- Real-time communication of the event flow and logistics
At Gracenote Sports, we have worked at many international multisport events such as the Olympics and smaller single sport events. We offer solutions designed specifically to make life easier for the press, marketing departments and technology partners. This includes timely and accurate sports data and information for media professionals, as well as social media services to maximize exposure for events and drive fan engagement.
At our core, we help drive compelling stories. Whether it is comprehensive background information on the sports and athletes, unique Facts & Figures services or real-time feeds that provide updates, our primary objective is to help media do their jobs by getting them the right information in a timely manner for use in their coverage.
HOST CITY: Event organisers need to maximise good publicity. How can this be achieved?
Guido Bouw: Relevant and timely information is key. The more positive coverage you can generate about the event itself, the more visibility you can create for the host city or region.
News reporters want breaking news, but most other media are writing feature stories that require context – context on a particular competition, athlete or team. Gracenote Sports understands the time constraints that media are under while on editorial deadlines and have developed seamless data feeds to support more in-depth and thoughtful event coverage.
At Gracenote Sports we understand how to tell a good story. That is why we put a premium on distributing timely information to media that can spawn the next story angle or support an existing one. The richness and depth of our unrivalled global sports database, our deep experience working at sports events and expertise in delivering fact-checked information has made Gracenote Sports a trusted partner for many events and federations.
HOST CITY: And what can event organisers do to avoid negative press?
Guido Bouw: As mentioned earlier, a successful event is the foundation for positive press coverage. If the event itself is perceived to have external challenges, the coverage will likely mirror that sentiment. That is precisely why it is critical that organisers focus on the overall success of the event and a seamless experience for media. This includes the proper access required to generate positive news stories. Once event organisers understand that media can serve as the ultimate evangelists for an event, they understand that managing the media with white glove service is just as important as taking care of participating athletes.
They should be treated as a client with top clearance to important access points throughout the event. Minimising disruptions, actively managing their expectations and becoming a resource for information is key.
Additionally, we advise having a highly experienced “information team” on-hand that can effectively address media questions, mitigate issues and manage a potential crisis before it grows into a media storm.
HOST CITY: Major events are a fantastic opportunity to showcase the host city itself. What services are available to bring these kinds of stories to the fore?
Guido Bouw: Hosting a major sporting event can have a positive effect on the profile of the host city and, often times, the broader region. Based on this, it is important that organisers remember the important role media can play in showcasing the host city and plan accordingly.
At the most basic level, this means creating opportunities for media to experience the host city. Be sure to schedule media events at appropriate times and locations so journalists can easily attend. We’ve seen organisers enjoy great success hosting media events and ‘showcase events’ during big competitions in iconic locations. This strategy results in great visuals which can capture the beauty of the host city and result in additional exposure.
We also encourage our customers to create unique experiences that allow media to see the host city more intimately. We have had clients greet incoming media with welcome kits detailing “must-see” local attractions as well as invite key media on facilitated “city tours” to guide their experiences.
HOST CITY: There is a vast amount of data and statistics that can be collected around a major event that would be of use to journalists. What sort of tools are there to make this information available?
Guido Bouw: At Gracenote Sports, we have mastered how to efficiently deliver the most accurate and timely information, including results and statistics, athlete information, flash quotes, press conference highlights, analytics and insights, to the media around the world. We’ve spent over 20 years refining our event and data offerings as well as diversifying the vehicles to distribute information to our customers spanning newsfeeds, APIs, widgets and newsletters.
At the heart of our global operations are the experienced professionals who live and breathe sports data. These individuals – avid sports fans themselves – spend countless hours mining our industry-leading database containing information on 4,500 of the world’s most popular sports leagues and competitions to develop content that adds context and relevance to our customers’ media coverage. In addition, our social media desk specializes in developing custom content around major sports events for popular platforms including Twitter and Facebook to driving direct engagement with fans.
HOST CITY: What can smaller or more niche events do to get in the media as much as possible?
Guido Bouw: This goes back to the first question. An event organiser of any scale should pay close attention to facilitating easy media access to the event. To reiterate, that is access to the event and relevant event venues, the dissemination of timely information around the event and its participants and real-time communication of the event flow and logistics.
The engagement with media shouldn’t begin when they get off of a plane in your city. The engagement should begin well before their arrival when you become a reliable source for relevant statistics, historical context and news coverage leading up to the event. Media are often looking for unique story angles about the history of the event and compelling stories behind the athletes. By serving as a resource to media leading up to, during and after a major sporting event, you can cultivate lasting relationships with journalists and ideally, emotional connections with the host city that could last a lifetime.