Digital ice breakers: Infront rolls out extensive digital media offering for the 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship
A full range of clips, animations, ballots, games and user generated content is maximising engagement for fans and sponsors
Zug, Switzerland - The IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship will hit the ice from 6 until 22 May 2016 with a total of 16 teams competing in the Russian cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg. This year, the IIHF and its exclusive media and marketing partner for the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship, Infront Sports & Media, have broken new ground with the digital convergence of the tournament, elevating exposure across a full contingent of social and digital channels as never seen before in the history of the flagship winter sport event.
Comprehensive digital features, greater integration and new services
For 2016, the strategy has been to incrementally extend reach through a new and expanded digital initiative – which has already been launched to engage fans in the pre-phase of the tournament. Four highlights include:
- Warm-up: A creative online engagement campaign features an elimination style jersey contest at www.iihfworlds2016.com/en/news/jerseycontest. The fan vote contest, which resulted in a victory for the Latvian maroon and white jersey, received over 150,000 votes. BracketPro, a voting-based product designed and developed by Omnigon, is behind the competition. Unique features of BracketPro include that it is fully customizable, can be sponsored and that fans are able to share content across social networks. More brackets, e.g. voting for best players or photos of the tournament, will be released during and after the tournament.
- More services for the fans: Once the tournament starts, the IIHF Fan Guide, powered by FanZone, will provide added value to spectators onsite. The dedicated App, which can be downloaded for free both from the App Store and Google Play, can be used as a travel tool to provide transportation, venue and logistical information. The IIHF Fan Guide helps users to plan their trips and simultaneously promotes host cities while building communities through its ability to find other users. Already available for download, it offers an overview of the main areas of interest and localisation services near the event - such as bars and restaurants as well as services such as car pools and public transportation information.
- Sharing excitement: Another viral campaign invites fans to share their ‘cheering selfies’ with the dedicated #IIHFCHEERCHALLENGE and #LikeLaika hashtags. It allows for socially-enabled user generated hashtag campaigns across various social media platforms, with the ability to detect all the posts that use the hashtag and pin them to a digital wall with an option to win attractive prizes.
- Reaching new audiences: Whilst the digital spread of the IIHF platform already encompassed YouTube, Facebook and Twitter last year (with a total of 11.6 million video views), for 2016, Instagram has been added as well as a new partnership has been aligned with the Russian online social networking service VK.com. A broad variety of clips and videos are provided, including the popular “Olga on the Ice” or “Meet the teams”, which are currently in the pre-phase of the tournament.
In addition, besides engaging the faithful ice hockey crowds around the world, Infront and the IIHF have been working to reach prospective new fans. New informative animations illustrating the fundamentals of the sport of ice hockey will be rolled out across different platforms and pushed into new geographical areas and demographics that are not yet part of the core ice hockey community.
Digital sponsor engagement – Official App again presented by Škoda
While the IIHF digital contingent focuses on building higher awareness for the sport of ice hockey and engagement with the 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship, it also provides great opportunities for sponsors to get involved on the digital end: Krusovice lager, a Heineken brand, is presenting the “Meet the teams” and “Olga on the Ice” clips in addition to the “Highlights” and “Daily Top 5” clips on social media, while Official Main Sponsor Škoda is aligned once again closely with the official tournament App. Last year, the official App was downloaded by over 260,000 new users. Furthermore, GoPro will partner with the tournament to create special ice hockey moments. A set of episodes (each around 1-2 min) showing the excitement of the 2016 event and providing unseen insight will be published on the different platforms.
René Fasel, IIHF President, commented: “The digital world continues to expand and offer some very exciting and innovative opportunities to reach ice hockey fans. Since we embarked on this new digital media partnership we have had great success in raising the profile of the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship and introducing new fans to the game. I am excited to showcase our new offerings for 2016.”
Bruno Marty, Executive Director Winter Sports at Infront, added: “What we are implementing for the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship this year is one of the most comprehensive and fully integrated digital initiatives ever seen at a major international winter sports event. Thanks to our in-house capabilities and digital team of almost 300 people, we are in a great position to offer all these services – from strategy to technology and content delivery – all out of one hand. The campaign not only offers an inspiring user journey promoting the tournament, it is also planned in a way that it strengthens the ties with existing fans and reaches out to new demographics and geographies.”
About Infront Sports & Media
Infront Sports & Media is the most respected sports marketing company in the world, managing a comprehensive portfolio of top properties. Led by President & CEO Philippe Blatter, Infront covers all aspects of successful sporting events – including distribution of media rights, sponsorship, media production and event operation – and has won a reputation for its high standards of delivery. As the number one player in winter sport and with a leading role in football, summer and endurance sports, Infront enjoys long-lasting partnerships with 170 rights-holders and hundreds of sponsors and media companies. Headquartered in Zug, Switzerland, Infront has a team of more than 900 experienced staff working from over 35 offices across more than 15 countries, delivering 4,100 event days of top class sport around the world every year. In November 2015, Infront was integrated into Wanda Sports Holding, part of the Chinese conglomerate the Dalian Wanda Group.