IBU Relaunches its Website
For the last decade IBU has shared the news with biathlon community and fans on biathlonworld.com, covering competitions, shedding the light on the athletes’ summer preparation for the season and unveiling their background stories. Biathlonworld.com website traffic is growing yearly; last season the number of website visitors for the first time reached the mark of 5,5 million. Biathlonworld.com is the IBU’s main window to the outside world, and refreshing the website look and feel is a part of IBU’s rebranding campaign. In addition, IBU sees website relaunch as an opportunity for further promotion of biathlon sport and values of biathlon family, which will allow IBU to reach wider and younger audiences online.
Deltatre: expert in sport digital media
After the IBU Brand Audit has been released in August IBU announced tender process for selecting a company for website relaunch. Among other strong candidates, IBU chose Deltatre, a company that has been involved in more than 50 sports during the last 30 years. Its clients include FIFA, UEFA, UCI (Union Cyclists Internationale), FISA (World Rowing Federation) and FIS (International Ski Federation). They also worked with NBC Universal, ARD, BBC, the English Premier League and many other clients in sport, providing a range of digital and broadcast solutions.
The long-term partnership with Deltatre includes three stages. The first one will be implemented together with the website relaunch in November with going online on 22nd of November 2016. It will include all “must-have” features. During Transition period, the old version of the website will be available on old.biathlonworld.com.
Second stage will see website go one step further in a so called “sprint system” with new features and content every two weeks before the World Championships, and the final, third stage will complete the website with additional story-telling tools after the season.
The new website homepage contains the main menu , live event promotion with top story above, followed by the news hub. Scrolling down, one can find featured athletes, photo gallery, videos and social hub.
Reaching biathlon audiences
With its website relaunch, IBU aims to promote biathlon to younger audiences. The general tendency has shown that whereas older audience prefer to watch the sport on TV, younger audience is more likely to watch competition, check results and follow biathlon news online. A completely new feature, available right from the relaunch is social hub; it will gather the most interesting posts from athletes’ competitions, trainings and daily life. Reposting photos and videos will create a feeling of direct communication between athletes and fans.
In the fast paste era of digitalization poses new challenges: the technology continues to shift from desktop to mobile or portable devices. The website will be available in its mobile version on smart phones and tablets right from the start.
Athletes are the main actors of the sport. Whereas before all athlete profiles were data-driven, the new profile for top athletes will include editorial biography, and selection of news stories along with the basic info. Starting last season, IBU has carried out the Bios action: in season-opening Östersund IBU staff sat together with athletes at the World Cup to fill out their basic information for the website: their skis, height, coaches, and hobbies.
The editorial solution for top athletes will include interview with athletes, which discover how athletes got into the sport of biathlon, what their biggest biathlon dream and role model in sport are, and where they prefer to go for their summer vacation.
Just like the old website, the new home for biathlonworld.com will be available for fans in IBU three Congress languages: English, German and Russian. Whereas English remains at the top of the language chart, many biathlonworld.com visitors represent many nations. Last year statistics saw 16.1% of visitors from Czech Republic, 14% from Germany, 9% from France, 7% from Russia and 4% from Italy.
IBU Virtual Gallery
At the final stage of website relaunch, IBU Virtual Gallery will be incorporated into biathlonworld.com autumn of 2017. The work on this online project, aimed at preserving the history of biathlon, after a conceptional period went into direct realization last November. It will allow its online guests to time-travel decades back and explore a unique collection of biathlon artifacts, legendary personalities and changing equipment. The IBU Virtual Gallery will feature five ‘biathlon worlds’: the Main building (the modern biathlon history), the House of Origins (history until 1958/1960), the Biathlon Hall of Fame, the Globe and Venue view, and the World of Biathlon (3D Model venue). The biggest advantage of the project is its accessibility; anyone can explore biathlon history from any place on this planet 24/7.