One of the attendees at this year’s IWGA Media Workshop was Dani Ezpeleta, Social Media Officer for the International Korfball Federation (IKF). In the IWGA Interview of the Month he shares what he has learnt from the meeting at the IOC Headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, and describes how to make use of the lessons on how to promote The World Games 2025 in Chengdu, Peoples Republic of China.
What were your expectations, going into the workshop? Did the two days in Lausanne fulfill those expectations?
Dani Ezpeleta: I have attended all the previous workshops organized by the IWGA, physically or online, and the content and topics have always been very interesting and useful for my tasks and objectives as Social Media Officer at the IKF. Furthermore, every year the topics have changed a little bit, and the organisers have done a great job focusing on certain key points that are becoming more relevant and important for us in this digital world that evolves so fast. In my opinion, this workshop’s main focus on the next edition of The World Games in Chengdu was a success, because it’s a great challenge for all of us to understand the culture of the Chinese audience and the ways they think and interact.
What made the workshop special from your point of view?
Dani Ezpeleta: The fact of being able to meet physically again with all the other media officers, after these last two years of travel restrictions. The experiences and challenges we face individually every day are very similar, but the way we solve them are not always the same, and listening and learning from each other brings you a new world of ideas and solutions. Those different working group sessions, the coffee breaks and the after-work evening discussions are essential, and also a very important part of these events.
What were the most important learning outcomes for you?
Dani Ezpeleta: As I mentioned, China is a fascinating country, with a very unique culture and tradition, and the sooner we start working and understanding how they interact with social media after the pandemic, the better; this interaction is a key factor for us. Korfball is well known in certain regions of the country, and The World Games 2025 is the perfect event at which to go further and reach new audiences, to get new players and coaches and promote more regional and national competitions. The sessions at the workshop clarified a lot of these questions, and being part of TWG family can open a lot of doors for all the federations to help them reach their local and global goals of spreading their sports and communities.
Was there a tip or hint that made you say to yourself: “Good to know, we will do that in the future too”?
Dani Ezpeleta: There were a lot of good tips provided by the lecturers and other participants at the workshop, in many different areas and at many different levels. These included how to approach potential stakeholders, the way we can reach and work with the athletes to engage new audiences and global markets for them and us, how to create relevant conversations on social media through creative content, different tips to make our videos more viral, ways to keep quality and effectiveness in our live streaming, and so on.
What is the significance of The World Games within the Korfball community, and how do you communicate to your fans that you are a member of The World Games family?
Dani Ezpeleta: For all Korfball players this is the biggest event they can participate in, and they know it. The number of athletes and the greatness of The World Games at all levels are astonishing. We try to communicate this to all our Korfball fans and followers as much as we can in our publications and posts, so they can be encouraged to share this fact and be proud and honoured to be part of this big community of sports that have the goal to be at the Olympics in the future. Doing this they also share the values of cooperation, equality, perseverance, fair play and respect represented by the #WeAreTheWorldGames motto.
What are the expectations of the IKF for the Games in Chengdu? Have you set any specific goals? (note: the sports programme for The World Games 2025 has not been ratified yet)
Dani Ezpeleta: The IKF has big plans for The World Games in China. Apart from keeping Korfball spreading in this country, the #RoadToChengdu has already started for all the 24 countries that will participate in next October's World Championship in Taipei, Chinese Taipei. The best 8 teams will qualify for TWG 2025, and the main goal is to make them feel that they all are also part of The World Games, even if they don’t qualify. Moreover, since China is ranked high on the World Ranking, we expect a strong performance from the Chinese Korfball team, through which we expect to obtain extensive media reach in China.
Do you see any special challenges, and how will you prepare for them?
Dani Ezpeleta: Technically, it can be a little complex to prepare and be sure that all the regular connectivity and access to social media platforms and broadcast services will run smoothly. But this was a main point during the workshop and we’ve seen that, with the help and support of the IWGA and the ISB, they will be able to provide high-quality solutions to these possible challenges.
On the other hand, there is already a local team of IKF volunteers and officials preparing for our next World Championship in this country. They will be crucial in starting to create and maintain the necessary communities and contacts needed to produce a successful Korfball event at TWG 2025, and in establishing the roots for a solid and active fan base.
Are there any topics you would like to see discussed at the next workshop?
Dani Ezpeleta: I’m pretty sure that the organisers have received the best inputs and suggestions from all the participants, and they always surprise you with some items you were not expecting but become pretty relevant in the end. Anyway, I would be glad to know more about other case studies on how to grow an audience and new digital communities in China and other Asian countries.
The World Games is a multi-sport event staged every four years by the International World Games Association, organised with the support of the International Olympic Committee. The World Games 2022 was held in Birmingham, Alabama, USA, 7-17 July 2022. 3,600 athletes from 34 sports and 100 countries took part in the Games. The 12th edition of The World Games will be held in Chengdu, CHN in 2025.