Here’s a question. Would you rather know for sure that you have 1,060,973 people watching your event or imagine that you could have 1.327 Billion? The Volvo Ocean Race have released their media figures for the the 2008-2009 race and while they are impressive, they bring into sharp focus the way in which media is valued.
Credit should be given to the organisers of the Volvo Ocean Race for their transparency and commercial approach to the numbers. Unlike other sectors of sailing, where the business model is propped up by wealthty individuals, the Volvo Ocean Race lives or dies on providing return on investment for its stakeholders.
While some may focus on the headline grabbing cumulative figures in the billions, there are some very significant and interesting numbers for sponsors in the details.
Volvo Ocean Race CEO, Knut Frostad chose to highlight a couple:
“As the media world evolves into a more online community, we have had great success with our online properties and new media areas. Our official online properties had over 89 million visitors with over one million fans visiting more than 100 times and the official game was a run-away success with over 221,768 players from over 180 countries.”
The numbers released yesterday include findings of an independent research programme, undertaken by IFM Sports Marketing Surveys with additional data and analysis from Google Analytics (an online reporting tool)
It’s still fashionable to quote TV numbers that assume households with boxes are actually watching, however the Volvo Ocean Race’s decision to take the race route to China and India has added several zeros to the numbers.
China led the way in new territories, by delivering an audience of 600 million, 45 per cent of the race total. This is the same amount as tuned into the biggest day of the recent Olympics!!
While the traditional PR people will focus on clippings, we would weight the digital numbers which measure actual downloads, clicks, views, comments and other interactions more highly.Why? Apart from being real numbers and not approximations, watching a race-start online or seeking out a blog is an active decision on behalf of a viewer. Somebody sitting in front of a computer screen or mobile phone screen is focussed on the content – it’s not on in the background.
From that point of view, the digital numbers are impressive for sailing.
- 89 Million – Cumulative web audience (visits) from all Volvo Ocean Race online properties
- 10Million – Mobile page views delivered to over five million visits. Every second of the Race somebody was hitting the server
- 221,768 – Registered players from more than 180 countries in the Official Game
- 1,060,973 – views on the race’s YouTube site from 449 countries
- 10,463 – video clips downloaded by 62 countries (from international online distributor The Newsmarket)
- 4,060,928 – unique visitors, a 15.7% increase on 2005-06
- 63.27% – of the audience visited the site more than nine times
- Over one million users visited the site more than 100 times
- 1,199,892 – unique visitors throughout the race
- 2,269,008 visits that registered 8,479,593 page views (3.74 pages per visit).
The online game deserves special mention. From a marketing point of view, this is incredibly exciting. The online game provides deep emersion with the hard-core fans of the race. This is not push marketing, this is relationship building, interaction, engagement. As well as proving that sailing is not too complicated for ‘normal’ people to understand, the Volvo Ocean Race online game proves that there are hundreds of thousands of people who want the feeling of participation. This is not a 30 second spot during a TV news bulletin, this is not a photo of your brand half obscured by a dark southern ocean wave – here lies an opportunity to deliver lasting associations and real returns. Our guess is that BWIN’s sponsorship of the extras packages in the final legs of the online race delivered one of the best returns of the entire race.
- 221,768 – registered players from more than 180 countries
- World’s biggest online sailing community
- 3,397,096 unique visitors came to the site, spending an average of 7:02 minutes
- Average daily players was over 60,000 peaking at 120,000
- Nearly 42 million hours spent on the game.
- 11,057 broadcasts, from 46 different countries provided over 3,386 hours of coverage and a cumulative audience of 1.327 billion
- 400 news outlets from 62 different countries downloaded a total of 10,463 video news clips (The Newsmarket)
- Cumulative print circulation of 606.7 million – increase of 104% on the 2005-06 race
- 13,038 print articles
- 28,918 mentions in print
- Total readership over the 10 legs was 1.6 billion
Media Value (TV, print)
- US$54.2 million* – average media value for each team’s main sponsor (source: IFM Sports Marketing Surveys)(*Top seven teams)
- 1.619 Billion – Cumulative readership from 13,038 articles
- 1.327 Billion – Cumulative TV audience from 11,057 broadcasts
- 1.168 Billion – Cumulative radio audience from nearly 1,500 broadcasts
- US$54.2 MILLION – Average media value (TV and print) for each team’s main sponsor (*This figure represents the top seven teams)
Sources: IFM Sports Marketing Surveys End Of Race Report 2009. Google Analytics. VEMU, World Sports Communications, Stopover Organisations.