By Paul Peavy
This may be the greatest time ever for riding a tidal wave of exposure for your sport. The after glow of the Olympics is still growing strong! Think about it, people sat on their couch and switched from all the NBC networks to watch sports (possibly YOUR sport) all day for a couple of weeks. The exposure, the opportunity is endless.
If you are putting on a fencing tournament, you already got a little pump up in a feature on one of the nation’s best fencers, Race Imboden, during the Olympic trials. If you put on a huge road race, people will watched with interest the Olympic marathon and the amazing story of Mebrahtom “Meb” Keflezighi who won the Olympic marathon trial after Nike had dropped him as a sponsor because he was getting too old. And, of course, you had a primetime duel in the pool between Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps to light up your swimming interests.
Even driving in your car, you couldn’t escape. National Public Radio was doing regular features on athletes that were not as well known or well paid and how they struggled with time and finances to continue to honor their sports such as archery or badminton.
The biggest thing to me is you have an unprecedented time to grow both your audience and participants. It could be little kids watching and dreaming of making it to the Olympics or it could be adults saying, “Hey, I want to give that a try!”
The first thing I would do is talk to local press about how this sport works and how people can get into it and how your event connects people with it. Local newspapers and news shows need stories to fill their air time or paper space.
Seondly, I would offer to go around to youth and adult organizations about what they actually saw when they watched your event on TV. Take a video clip to your local Rotary Club or an afterschool program and then offer a demonstration or a clinic on how people can get started in your sport so they can participate when your event rolls around.
The advent of fall often brings a spring of motivation as the heat melts away and gives way to cooler mornings and evenings. People are often more structured and schedule oriented as the free, lazy days of summer drift away. A parent may be looking for a way to fill a couple of hours at the park as their kid has football practice. Why not use the pump given by Andy Murray and Serena Williams at the Olympics to post notices encouraging beginners or returnees to your evening tennis leagues?
I also see this time as a time when interest in less publicized sports spike. Remember, some very bright high school students need some extra curricular activities to put on their college applications so starting an archery, handball, or badmitton team actually helps them out. It’s a great time to make others aware of why your private little passion is soooo cool!
This free publicity tsunami only happens four years and can create a ground swell in your event that can last for years! So hop on and ride it like your future depends on it, because it just may!
Paul Peavy and his wife, Sherrie, are multiple triathlon finishers. They also compete in shorter distance triathlons and runs. Their daughter is a state championship-level swimmer. Paul also loves to grab the microphone and be the “Crowd Pumper-Upper!” at many different events. He gives us insight into events as an athlete, a parent, a volunteer, an MC, a spectator, and sometimes just a Sherpa for his very athletic wife and daughter.