Campaign: BT Paralympic World Cup Brand name:BT / ParalympicsGB Agency name:Fast Track
Background The BT Paralympic World Cup (BT PWC) is the largest annual international multi-sport competition in elite disability sport. The event has been staged annually in Manchester since 2005, last year hosting 279 athletes from 37 countries. The BT PWC plays a critical role in providing competition between the four-yearly Paralympic Games. 2011 marked BTs third year as title sponsor. In 2011, athletes competed across three core sports – wheelchair basketball, athletics and swimming, plus international matches in Sitting Volleyball and Boccia. The team format, pioneered in 2010, saw GB take on athletes from Europe, the Americas and Rest of the World.
Objectives (1) Overarching sponsorship objective Raise the profile of Paralympic sport and Paralympic athletes by achieving positive media coverage about the BT Paralympic World Cup BT has a strong history of supporting UK disability sport. Key messages to deliver through sponsorship activation are: BT is the title sponsor of the BT Paralympic World Cup BT has a long history of supporting Paralympic sport BT has extended its existing support for ParalympicsGB through to 2016 BT directly supports a number of Paralympic athletes through its ambassador scheme
Objectives (2) Objectives of the BT PWC, supported by BT as title sponsor, are to: Provide elite athletes with an annual major competition, giving more opportunities to compete with their international counterparts Stage high quality events which will act as a catalyst for governing bodies and event organisers to stage further high quality elite events Stage an event which will gain international coverage by broadcast, print and online media and thus showcase disability sport around the world Showcase well managed Paralympic sport, an opportunity which was lacking in the period between the four-yearly Paralympic Games Create and establish permanently in the UK an annual world leading event second only to the Paralympic Games where British performers can benefit from home based competition, centred around UK High Performance requirements and objectives
Objectives (2) Promote and market disability sport both within the UK and around the world. Through the BT PWC a clear opportunity has enabled Britain to become leaders of Paralympic sport in the international arena at elite level Continue the team concept – introduced for the first time in Paralympic Sport in 2010
Implementation BT Internal Volunteering: Linking with BTs internal volunteering programme giving employees opportunity to engage with/attend the event Ticketing: a number of tickets available to BT employees each year Internal Communications: raising event awareness/opportunities for employees via e-news, intranet, desktop widget,magazine and internal collateral Ambassadors: use of BT athlete ambassadors to drive key messaging to employees and bring them face-to-face with Paralympics
Implementation BT partnerships: Channel 4: utilising BTs co-sponsorship of Channel 4s Paralympic programming to leverage maximum event exposure (with BT idents bumpering C4s coverage) Charities: activity which helps promote associated charities and the event (eg in 2010, BT Ambassador Oscar Pistorius launched BT/Lords Taverners sensory room in Manchester) BT-sponsored Sunday Telegraph Sports Life supplement: quarterly supplement with Paralympic/BT PWC special scheduled pre-event. +500,000 copies printed BT Paralympic World Cup Dinner: eve-of-event dinner bringing together stakeholders: Manchester City Council, broadcaster, corporate customers, sponsors, governing bodies, charities, BT employees and ambassadors London 2012: utilisation of BTs London 2012 sponsorship to push event to other audience groups
Implementation Schools Programme Free Tickets for Schools: school ticketing programme enabling youth groups/school parties to attend and engage School athlete visits: BT Ambassador/competing athlete visit schools to highlight the event and discuss disability sport/issues Education Pack: free-to-download from website providing schools the assets to communicate more about the event/disability sports BT Mascot: attended event to interact with youth groups Come & Try: event area where children are encouraged to try disability sport All schools messaging amplified through various other BT educations and schools programmes.
Implementation Branding Ensuring visibility of BT as title sponsor via: lock-up logo, marketing collateral, medals, venue dressing and signage, perimeter boards, event programme, athlete bibs/swim caps, media back-drops, event staff kit, branded spectator collateral
Implementation MarComms Activation Start-of-year event announcement: 2011 featured highly creative photography from underwater photoshoot of British Paralympians (including wheelchair basketballer Simon Munn, swimmer Liz Johnson and runner Richard Whitehead) Pre-event launch in Manchester: 2011 featured a wheelchair basketball demonstration in Manchesters Trafford Centre followed by celebs-vs-GB wheelchair basketball match Ongoing PR: Major national/regional comms strategy from January- May, utilising athlete competitors/BT Ambassadors to drive key sponsor/event messaging plus wider Paralympic sport messaging Week-of-event: PR roll-out throughout week of event, including access at event for media and continued national/regional PR plan to provide maximum exposure for sponsors/athletes/event Advertising: Placement of advertising in Manchester and in media to raise event profile and highlight ticketing details Live Sites: BT is a Live Site partner and utilised this association to screen BT PWC related content to a wider audience nationwide
Results and Evaluation Live Event Broadcast The event in 2011 received unprecedented broadcast coverage with +12 hours shown on Channel4 and streamed online; 0.31 million viewers tuned in across the week Volunteers In total, 358 volunteers contributed to the 2011 event, including 50 BT employees (the full BT staff volunteer quota). Attendance / Schools Programme Total attendance across all events was 7654 for 2011 Achieved +3% over the target for paid-for tickets Hugely successful tickets-for-schools programme with school/youth groups accounting for 75% of total attendance Strong response to new online resources (newly created Fun Zone with downloadable content, teacher resources, video/audio etc) Larger come and try area created due to demand from schools (increased engagement between children and event/sports/sponsor)
Results and Evaluation Communications activity results for 2011 event +150 accredited media - highest in events history +750 clips across all media. Emphasis on creating quality media cut-through - achieved with +44 pieces of national print coverage BT PWC branding/messaging appeared in high-circulation media including: Daily Express, Daily Mail, Evening Standard, Telegraph, Times, Guardian, Mirror, Sunday Telegraph, Sunday Times, Observer, Manchester Evening News, BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio London, BBC Radio Manchester, BBC Manchester, ITV Granada, Channel 4 News, Channel 5 News, Sky News and Sky Sports News PR value currently +£5 million, not including broadcast values which will significantly raise this figure Also compared with 2010: - 10% increase in unique website visits - 50.46% growth in email database - 252% growth website referrals from e-mailouts - +200% increase in Twitter followers
Results and Evaluation Economic Impact Regional economic impact of event valued in 2010 at £1,132,150. Spectator Spend:£446,578 Organisational Spend: £685,572 2011 economic impact figure not yet released. Research Research from Channel 4 highlighted that, amongst its viewership, recall for BT as a brand involved in London 2012 and the Paralympic Games/disability sport has significantly increased. There was also a large increase in positive feeling amongst viewers towards BT as a brand in relation to its involvement with London 2012 and the BT Paralympic World Cup
Lessons Learned Geographical Growth of Support. The event has been held in Manchester since its inception, and as such much of the support has been of a local level. Increasingly and as the event grows in stature, the national and even international interest has grown and the marketing approach adjusted accordingly. The Paralympic Story. Great public interest remains towards the background story of Paralympic athletes. We have learned to strike a balance between telling their stories and also highlighting they are elite athletes with equally interesting sports stories. Increasing the Legacy. The legacy element of the event, activated through schools across the UK, has been grown through learning that the more that is offered by the event, the more engaged young people become via schools, clubs and other education outlets. The result is that thousands of schools have been engaged over the seven years the event has been taking place.
Lessons Learned Core and New Sports. The core sports involved in the event gain huge support from visiting spectators year on year, but also new sports have been showcased through exhibition matches in the recent years which have gained great TV coverage and also crowds. Reinventing the Concept. Two years ago the BT PWC created a new event concept where each athlete competes for a BT PWC team, with the BT PWC Cup being presented to the winning team on the final day. Creating a concept not seen in any other event in Paralympic sport was a big risk, however the feedback from athletes, spectators and media alike has been hugely positive and the concept has enhanced the overall competition greatly.