Feb 13, 2010

TOUCHDOWN or FUMBLE? A case study for the Olympics

Judging the Vancouver 2010 Games on Style and Performance.
To take a page out of the Veritas Communications handbook, this will be my first edition of touchdown or fumble. In this case, the culprit: The 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games (copyright, double copyright, re-use and redistribution restricted, all rights reserved, black magic swallow the key, etc).

The Olympic Committee decided, as they have in the past, to establish an official website. Great. Now the public has the opportunity to become a 'facebook fan' right away! Currently on their facebook page, the Olympics have approximately half a million fans. On their official twitter page- only 9,976. With the obvious emergence and I would argue necessity of social media, why are the Olympics failing to bring in worldwide youth via internet networks? I couldn't tell you how many people watch the Olympics but I bet it's a WHOLE BUNCH! Maybe a billion? Anyways, the less popular "winter" aspect may not prove to be as interesting but as we know, the most developed nations with high internet connections are all located in the cold. Why are we not utilizing our capabilities to watch the Games on the internet or to socialize about them on 'fb'?
I can (try) to answer that.
There is a lack of communication between the Olympics and the public. While watching the Superbowl, I noticed that CTV shoved the Olympics down the view ship's throat every commercial break. (If I hear that 'I Believe' song one more time...) There was a serious failure to mention to audiences about the capabilities of the website. The website itself is actually quite impressive. They have up-to-date medal coverage, videos, news, alerts, podcasts and you can even watch the coverage live. Too bad few will ever see it.

As a huge fan of crisis management, I BELIEVE the Olympics dealt appropriately with the death of young luger (pronounced loo-zh-er, not loser) Nodar Kumaritashvili, from Georgia. They immediately checked the track, made modifications such as not racing immediately, testing the track, deciding on appropriate start and finish distances. Officials also talked to the media explaining the science behind what happened in terms of trajectory and other physical components. They were incredibly professional and posted information on the website appropriately. It has been so successful (as of writing this) that the Olympic games have continued on without any further discussion regarding the tragic accident.

Touchdown - Wayne Gretzky lighting the torch
Fumble - Not-so cute characters as mascots
Touchdown - Remembering to put everything in both French and English
Touchdown - Aboriginal participation in the games (also included on the website
Fumble - CTV seems amateur to NBC
Undecided - Cassie Campbell still a hockey analyst
Touchdown - Dealing with weather conditions, global warming and not letting Al Gore attend the Games
Fumble - Olympic theme song - no question about that.

The Vancouver 2010 Games win the Bronze, not Gold, in Social Media.

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