The introduction of a new video-on-demand technology for the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship allowed website visitors to watch key game moments from multiple angles. This innovation – coupled with superior social media content, including videos designed to attract old and new fans alike – drove record levels of digital engagement for the world’s biggest annual winter sport event.
DEVELOPING CONTENT TO REACH OUT TO NEW DEMOGRAPHICS AND GEOGRAPHIES
Building on the success of 2016, the enhanced digital operation focused on 1) increased visibility for the sport beyond traditional media coverage; 2) engagement with and identification of an ever-growing fan audience; 3) access into new regions where ice hockey is not yet among the top sports; and 4) gathering additional knowledge about the IIHF audience and ice hockey fans in general.
To increase visibility, social media presence was expanded from YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and VK.com to include Snapchat. An extensive collection of 318 videos was produced before, during and after the Championship, including the popular “Olga on the Ice”, which captured behind-the-scenes insight and live event excitement. Furthermore, up to 10 Infront digital specialists onsite handled social media activities throughout the tournament. The results were impressive: video views across YouTube, Twitter and Facebook exceeded 29 million while the IIHF social media engagement across those platforms plus Instagram and VK hit 4.1 million people. In addition, the fantasy and prediction games attracted 21,000 unique users and 4,000 fans used the IIHF FanGuide to plan their pre- and post-game experience and journey.
Using the IIHF official website as a hub for the digital campaigns, Infront and the IIHF introduced a number of innovations to allow viewers more control of footage and increased engagement. On the production side, EVS C-Cast technology was integrated into the website and allowed fans to access complementary, multi-camera angle footage and clips of all major moments from each game. In addition, clips from brand new referee cameras were published, maximizing the reach and impact of key actions.
To help introduce ice hockey to new regions and make it more understandable, informative animations illustrating the fundamentals of the sport were rolled out across different platforms and pushed into new geographical areas.
Cross-platform, dynamic social content strategy attracted new followers and created more touch points for audiences to engage with the tournament and sponsors
In total the video content views across all digital platforms reached over 29 million - an increase of 56% on 2016
On the official website, average session duration was 6:44 minutes, with almost 58% of all website traffic coming from mobile devices
Social media engagement grew substantially across the board with a total of 4.1 million fans engaged during the Championship period
There were 692,000 followers across five social media channels – an increase of 29% from the previous year