• Sochi 2014 – Setting new standards for event and fan engagement via social media

    Date: 2011.03.11 | Kristian Gotsch | Category: General

    Today I had the opportunity to sit in on a session at the Global Sports Forum where Dmitry Chernyshenko (President of the Organizing Committee Sochi 2014) presented the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics Games.

    The Sochi 2014 is an impressive story with new standards for facilities, volunteer engagement, sponsorship revenue and active participation in sports. An area, where Sochi 2014 is also unique, is in the way it engages with fans. Contrary to clubs and sports overall, an event such as Sochi 2014 is a short term happening (lasting approximately 2 weeks) but that doesn’t stop Sochi 2014 from reaching out and engaging with fans beyond the actual event.

    Following the presentation I sat down with Dmitry to ask him some specific questions in relation to this matter.

    A deliberate strategy by Sochi 2014 is to embrace new media and having defined the youth of today as the target audience for the event, this certainly seems like a good fit. As Dmitry himself puts it: “Our key target audience is youth and new media is the most powerful channel to reach the youth”. Besides communicating to people via new media, Dmitry also sees great benefits in the discussions happening online. He is here not only referring to the hype about the event or positive stories, but also to any criticism that may be expressed. “Social media is fantastic for all of this and we would rather hear what people have to say up front than to realize it afterwards”.

    The recent voting by the public for the official mascots for the games is a good example of how Sochi2014 already now reaches out and engages with people– 3 years before the event! The nationwide voting in February held during a live television broadcast involved people in the event and gave everyone a chance to vote for their favorite mascot. The rest of the world could follow the event online and discuss the various candidates.

    As already mentioned, Sochi 2014 is still 3 years away, but there is no doubt that the organizing committee – and Dmitry Chernyshenko himself (@DChernyshenko) – are setting new standards when it comes to Olympic Games organization and embracing new media to engange with fans.