The 2018 Commonwealth Games finished on Sunday (April 15th), with host nation Australia top of the medal table, with the 11 intense days of serious competition creating a lifetime of memories for the 71 nations that competed.
As a sports fan the following moments got me jumping off my seat:
– Australian 10km finishing athletes congratulating rival finishers track-side
– Jamaica winning its maiden Steeplechase medal at a major event
– The England Netball team’s amazing last second win over Australia
Every medal has a remarkable story behind it, but I couldn’t help feeling that many athlete heroics went under the radar this year.
So, what could CWG do to elevate its profile ahead of Birmingham 2022?
What is, debatably, a traditional competition needs untraditional coverage to reach a mainstream audience and become, in itself, a mainstream sport event.
The impact of ‘new media’ is undeniable in today’s media landscape. I’m referring to channels like Joe.co.uk, UNILAD and SportBible, the go-to for millennial news consumption.
These channels aren’t known for covering stories or moments in a traditional manner, and they often celebrate the unsung hero or the ‘did you see’ moments. In my eyes, the CWG athletes are unsung heroes as they don’t get the praise they deserve. Instead, our heroes risk becoming forgotten relics just days after competition.
I find sporting events emotional; the highs, the lows; the skill and dedication; the unbelievably tight difference between tears and triumph. Just watch how emotionally articulated Welsh wrestler Kane Charig was when losing his final. But the emotion that there was a real lack of during the Games, was humour.
The beauty is in not taking yourself or the sport too seriously and has the potential to gain real media value.
Last week, A.S Roma’s extraordinary comeback against Barcelona caused havoc on social media and gained international attention. A.S Roma has transformed into a huge social media player within months due to its niche humour, and a role model we can learn from.
Usain Bolt took to the internet to rib his training partner Yohan Blake after his recent loss by saying “I am definitely going to make fun of him“, resulting in global coverage. Without this celebrity endorsement, would as many consumers have heard about the race?
- Fan engagement
I’m sure there was plenty to engage the fans on the Gold Coast, but fans of the home nations were very under engaged.
A lesson could be learnt from NFL team Jacksonville Jaguars, who later this month will be maximising the moment of the relatively unheard of NFL Combine as an opportunity to engage their fans and introduce new fans to the sport, and team, by awarding VIP tickets to the 2018 London Games for the best performance in a series of stunt challenges.
Now all eyes turn to Birmingham 2022 which will give the Commonwealth Games an opportunity to celebrate the cosmopolitan culture of the Commonwealth and inspire young athletes from all walks of life in the UK, and we’re excited to see how this is activated and how our athletes can become heroes once again.
I can’t wait to physically feel the Commonwealth Games spirit when it hits the UK in 2022.
The 2012 Olympic Games, captivated Londoners and tourists alike and I look forward to experiencing the unique Games atmosphere of the Commonwealth Games from the comfort of a stadium seat, cheering our future heroes to success, glory, and mainstream media domination.