by Sandra Marocco 8 July 2012
The opportunities offered by the hockey 2012 World Junior Championship create excitement around the games and the newspapers’ coverage of them, bringing in C$250,000 in new revenue.
In Canada, hockey is more than our national sport. It is a vital part of our culture that serves as an expression of our courage, pride, and commitment. Hockey ignites a passion that crosses gender, race, province, age, and ability. It is the sport that binds us all together.
So when we learned the 2012 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship would be hosted in our home province, we recognised a phenomenal opportunity to use multi-media storytelling skills to engage our entire community. We wanted to transcend the usual sports reporting to bind diverse audiences around our passion for hockey.
In both Edmonton and Calgary, we launched several initiatives to encourage local communities to share our spirit and passion for hockey leading up to and during the tournament by integrating aspects of the tournament across all our platforms.
We designed and published the official fan guide, a 16-page special section in Edmonton and an eight-page special section in Calgary. During the 10-day tournament, we also provided 66 pages of print coverage in our daily newspapers.
On our digital platform, we created a micro-site devoted to all things WJC. We hosted online chats, as well as a tweet-up and contests, and provided coverage that resulted in 192,627 pageviews and 1,774 scans of our QR code. In Edmonton, we hired four student journalists to tweet and blog during the tournament while promoting Journal coverage. In two weeks, the blog team generated 37 blog posts and more than 550 tweets.
The tournament also gave us the chance to explore new products and technologies. In print, we created and produced our first 48-page souvenir archive edition, celebrating 30 years of hockey excellence at the World Junior Championships. This product may be purchased through the Hockey Canada Web site.
In addition, we secured Paul Brandt, an award-winning country music artist from Alberta, to write the lyrics of the tournament’s official theme song, “I Was There,” inspired by tweets to him from our readers. One of our reporters chronicled the writing and recording journey. Then we sought members of our community who embodied the spirit of hockey to be part of our production of a music video for “I Was There.”
The response to the video was outstanding. Almost 30,000 viewed it on our YouTube channel; another 26,229 viewed it on our Web site. The making of the song and video supplied content for a double-page spread in the newspaper, an online photo gallery, and our first-ever audio project. The song was played at every game of the tournament and on local radio stations. The video played on the Jumbotron at most of the games and aired on national television. After the tournament, we received numerous requests to use the video at local hockey tournaments and other provincial hockey events. The story of the video, as well as the video itself, is still available on our Web site.
At the select games, we used new Gigapan technology to shoot panoramic, five billion-pixel images of the crowds, and posted those on our Web site, too. Fans in attendance at those games could zoom in on their seats, find themselves in the picture, and tag the photo on Facebook.
Our efforts brought in slightly more than C$250,000 of incremental gross revenue. Our consistent and unique coverage of the event helped organisers raise the awareness level of the tournament from 42% to 84% after the tournament, according to IPSOS Reid surveys. The tournament co-chair made us one of the “stars” of the tournament, saying we helped create a benchmark and that our “outstanding contribution took this to a whole new level.”