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How Hockey Australia Will Capitalise On The Upcoming Tokyo Olympic Games

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peaking to Ministry of Sport, Hockey Australia general manager of commercial, communications, and events, Tim Cherry, talked about how Hockey Australia plans to capitalise on the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Looking into how the commercial arm will function in the lead up to and during the Olympics, Cherry discussed the role of the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) in commercial activation during the Games.

“The only sponsor we share with the AOC is Asics, who are the apparel partner for the AOC, and ironically, they’re our shoe partner for our national teams, so they even have a different part of the business between both,” Cherry told Ministry of Sport.

“All our other partners don’t have any rights for the Olympics.

“Rule 40, which outlines all commercial use for social post and brand ambassadors and athletes is understandably strict.

“However, there is still an opportunity for our partners to capitalise on the Games, they just have to be very careful in that space.

“We try to help guide them any way we can because there are still ways to capitalise on it, just not directly,” he said.

Reflecting on the concerns surrounding the Olympic Games and reports they may still be cancelled, Cherry said Hockey Australia is very focused on preparing for the Games.

“We’re doing a lot of work on our communications strategy in the lead up to and during the Games,” Cherry said.

“It doesn’t change our commercial strategy, we’re constantly out looking for new partners, always renewing and refreshing our partnerships and that doesn’t change.

“What we are trying to do is capitalise on Games time with the sport of hockey getting a boost during the Games.

“Last week we had our national under 15’s and under 18’s live streamed and it was really successful, and there are other things we are trying to capitalise on commercially.

“We would love to see our player registrations increase during the Games.

“The Kookaburras and Hockeyroos are proceeding as usual and are very much focused on their preparation,” he said.

Reflecting back on the role of digital during the COVID-19 pandemic and how Hockey Australia’s communications strategy has changed, Cherry said digital campaigns have been successful.

“We came up with a project called Hockey at Home, which got incredible support from our national teams, players, coaches and support staff,” Cherry said.

“We were doing videos to keep hockey fans and families at home engaged with some fun and informative videos.

“It was quite a galvanising campaign, and we got some really good and positive feedback.

“That was a big step for us, we had to come up with the strategy very quickly, and I remember saying to our team we are about to work on a strategy that is probably one of the most important things we will ever do given we’ve never lived through a pandemic.

“That then led into our return to play campaign, which has involved a lot of digital content, video content and they became television commercials on metro and regional radio stations.

“Even our LinkedIn, we’re only a few hundred followers from getting 5,000 followers, it might not sound like many, but it’s a really positive step and we’ve used that as a key communication tool,” he said.

Recently, Hockey Australia partnered with News Corp to livestream the Under 15 and Under 18 National Championships on the News Corp platform.

Discussing the success of the partnership for Hockey Australia and the potential for future livestreaming opportunities, Cherry said: “News Corp are interested in increasing their subscribers to those digital platforms, and we want to get the sport of hockey live streamed and into the broader sporting market.”

“So we came up with an agreement, and News Corp have been fantastic, they worked with our media team putting together some great stories around it and it has been really well received.

“There were over 11,000 people viewing on one day, that was really exciting.

“We’ve received a number of emails and phone calls from people saying they were watching and loving it and its great to see hockey getting a bigger profile.

“We’re waiting on the final numbers, but News Corp was thrilled with the number of new subscribers they picked up.

“We’re now going to discuss the under 13’s and under 21’s and a few other events, it’s something we want to continue doing.

“Now that we’ve done it, we are looking to add value and commercialise it.

“We’re happy people have been able to see the amazing emerging hockey talent coming through,” he said.