The mobile portal of the Volvo Ocean race; m.volvooceanrace.org, powered by Ericsson, is showing the way yacht racing can appeal to a wider audience through new media. Just as those on the money side of the sport follow @yachtbusiness on Twitter, fans are using their phones to follow the detail of the big global competitions
During the first month of the Volvo Ocean Race, traffic on the mobile portal was up dramatically compared to 2005-06. The mobile portal recorded over 1.5 million hits over the first month of the race. Data traffic amounted to 40 gigabytes during October, with nearly 40% of that accounted for by iPhone users.
According to a recent report by Canalys, the iPhone accounts for about 17% of the smartphone market, however iPhone users are more likely to use the data capabilities of their phones. In response, organisations like the Volvo Ocean Race are developing dedicated iPhone applications.
The Volvo Ocean Race app, which can be downloaded for free from iTunes, puts all the latest news and information on an iPhone in a format that takes advantage of the rich, graphic environment. iPhone owners can watch the race videos, check the latest positions, and read the email reports written by the sailors, all in the palm of their hand.