Many of us take an annual vacation. Some even go as far as organising a local waterski or wakeboard event. Sleepless nights are guaranteed. Selecting the dates, booking hotels and airfares, buying foreign currency, getting inoculations, studying maps and guides and a bunch of other worries, all combine to make it a bit of a challenge.
An inside view of a global promotion by Des Burke-Kennedy
Well, how about organising six major events covering the entire globe every year, involving six different languages, various Visas, a team of over 70 people with addresses in four continents, TV crews and photographers, hotels and transport, shipping boats and spares to each venue? And somehow also running a competition while hoping for decent weather.
Well, that’s what the Waterski & Wakeboard World Cup series is all about.
Having completed 21 miracles to date, the International Water Ski Federation (IWSF) hopes for a further six miracles in 2008. In other words, successful World Cup Stops in Russia, Egypt, Singapore, India, Malaysia and Qatar.
If you think there is a huge World Cup team in the background, no such luck, because in fact a three-man team looks after most of the key areas. IWSF President, Kuno Ritschard (SUI) is the one who clocks up about 300,000 miles each year searching for suitable sites and sponsors.
Des Burke-Kennedy (IRL) looks after the broad public relations side – covering printed media, TV, satellite links, web news, photographs, general communications, commentaries and marketing.
Bob Corson (USA) takes charge of the enormous amount of data management for rules, athletes selection and scores, Visas, competitor registration and communication – and also can be seen with his camera. Bob is supported by Australia’s Neil Harris on the wakeboard side, and Neil also acts as a judge at wakeboard stops.
After almost four years of globe-trotting, the results are impressive. From the athletes’ viewpoint, they have received over US$2,000,000 in World Cup cash prizes plus an introduction to venues with enormous future potential.
For instance, Glen Campbell (GBR) has developed his coaching clinics in Moscow, Sarah and Ryan Green (AUS) have done likewise in Northern Ireland. Jaret Llewellyn (CAN), Nicolas Le Forestier (FRA), Daniel Watkins (AUS), Philip Soven (USA) and others, have all passed on their skills at various venues along the way. As only the world’s highest ranked athletes qualify to compete in the World Cup series, they bring the highest level of skill available to each stop venue.
The major World Cup success has been on the media side. Our sports have a long history of honest achievement – but not in any significant way on TV or in print. Sponsors need this and our sports need sponsors.
Because the World Cup travels only to high population locations, this makes the series a very media friendly event. To date, the World Cup has produced 42 TV shows and news edits.
In 2007 alone, the estimated season TV contacts amounted to approximately 500 million. The value of this to an advertiser / sponsor for just one season is something in the region of US$5 million – over US$20 million to date.
By linking up with the big players in the field of TV distribution – Reuters, European Broadcast Union (EBU), SNTV and others – the emerging numbers are impressive. For instance, Reuters alone distribute our World Cup TV news edits to 442 broadcasters in 98 countries for every stop completed.
Also, watch out on your next flight. You may see the World Cup TV show on any of 19 in-flight menus.
On the print side, the World Cup now has access to 12,500 media contacts in 190 countries. Over 2,000,000 news releases have been distributed world-wide to date. If you also want to be included, just drop a note to email@example.com.
This year, further advances will be made with web casting. Although many have tried in our sports, most have either failed or delivered low quality shows with signal drop outs and far too much buffering down-time.
Just imagine being able to watch live web casts of Ryan and Sarah Green, Emma Sheers, Karina Nowlan, Michale Briant, Daniel Watkins and all the outstanding Australian talent involved in the World Cup as they perform near Egypt’s Pyramids, Russia’s Volga River, India’s Punjab region, Qatar’s Arabian Gulf waters, Malaysia’s spectacular new Putrajaya City and Singapore’s magnificent waterfront.
The World Cup team is working on a major web casting project to help you share in the fun, so keep an eye on the news headlines at www.iwsf.com.
A contract signed with WCSN / NBC for Webcast distribution is the first part of this next step. As the major Olympic sports webcaster, this is one to watch closely for the future.
Dubna in Russia kicked off the 2008 World Cup series on July 24 to 26, just as this mag was being sent to print. The last stop of the year is scheduled for Doha in Qatar on November 13 to 15. We will have inside reports here for you in future editions.
Just remember, over 500 million TV contacts will be made again this year for our sports – and we hope that you are one of them!