The Boat Race: A Social Media opportunity floating away

One of the finest traditions in sport takes place this weekend, but if you spend most of your time on Social Network sites you may not even know. The Oxford and Cambridge Boat Racefirst held in 1829, will be contested this weekend. Yes, this is a classic sporting event that speaks to heritage and legacy, but in the year 2010, the lack of official Social Media engagement around The Boat Race is somewhat baffling, especially when one considers that there must be alumni from both those universities literally all around the globe who would be interested in following the event.

A look at The Boat Race website seems to indicate that they aren’t completely against modernity. The site looks nice enough, but there is a glaring lack of utilization of Social Networks. A quick scan shows no Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or Flickr presence. Here’s how the organizers could be utilizing these platforms:

Twitter: Organize the existing conversations around The Boat Race by creating a Twitter account and the hashtag #theboatrace. This would be a great way to disseminate information about the race and provide an opportunity for sponsors to get engaged as well.

Facebook: There appears to be a fan created page for The Boat Race… that is in French. There is a page for The Oxford & Cambridge Goat Race that has more fans. This would be a great opportunity for both fans and former competitors to get together and share photos, comments and make connections.

YouTube: There actually is a YouTube channel for The Boat Race, but I couldn’t find mention of it on the official website. The official site has a section called Race Videos, but it doesn’t include or even mention the YouTube page. It’s difficult to tell on the YouTube channel how many videos there are, if there are comments, who other subscribers are and who else, if anyone, they are subscribed to. 

Flickr: Of course there are plenty of photos of The Boat Race, but no organized repository of official photos. Another huge opportunity missed as having an official group would not only be of great benefit to fans, but would also be a great way of driving traffic back to the official site.

Of course, other things such as a podcast and blog would be great additions as well. This is an event with an incredible history and with what I would imagine is a very highly sought after target audience (both spectators and former participants). I think the sponsors of this event are probably not getting maximum value for their pound and conversely, I’d wager that with an aggressive Social Media campaign The Boat Race could increase their sponsorship fees.

For those unable to attend the race this weekend, look for live coverage on BBC One and World Service

About author

Rick Liebling
Rick Liebling 8 posts

Rick Liebling is a veteran sports marketing professional based in the United States. Over his career he has worked with brands to help leverage sponsorships of FIFA and UEFA events, F1, cricket and just about every American-based sports league. You can follow him on Twitter (@RickLiebling) or connect via Linkedin.

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