Interview of the Month: Anna Jacobson, IWGA Communication Officer

Interview of the Month: Anna Jacobson, IWGA Communication Officer

Celebrate our Athletes

The IWGA is launching its Building up to Birmingham campaign starting in October. In the IWGA Interview of the Month, Communication Officer Anna Jacobson explains what the campaign is about and why it is important to put athletes at the heart of this piece of promotion for TWG 2022.

What is behind the Building up to Birmingham campaign?

Anna Jacobson: We have less than 300 days to go to The World Games 2022, and the qualifications are now under way. We are really eager to celebrate the athletes and teams that qualify for The World Games, and we want to spend the upcoming 200+ days promoting them and interacting with them. This way, when we come to The World Games, the fans already know whom to look for and in which sports.

On which platforms will you present the athletes?

Anna Jacobson: On all of our social media platforms, which include Instagram, Twitter and Facebook – and soon Tiktok too. In addition, their interviews will be published on the IWGA website, and later distributed via our mailing list to our different audiences.

Are there any other goals associated with the idea?

Anna Jacobson: Most certainly. Along with the plans stated above, we also want to make the athletes, sports and Games even more interesting for the media. It is always a pleasure to be able to present not only the results the athlete has achieved, but also the stories behind them with the added personal touch.

How do you select the athletes?

Anna Jacobson: This is a tricky question of course. We are trying to balance between sports, genders, countries and more to get as representative a picture as possible of the athletes of The World Games. That means that we cannot have very many athletes from the same sport, which is of course a pity. We would like to promote them all!

Is it easy to convince athletes to join the campaign?

Anna Jacobson: Generally our athletes are really happy to cooperate with us. It’s a pleasure for us to work with such professional and positive people. I think that in the information flow of today, the biggest challenge is actually to get the message read – but when it does get read, we normally get very positive responses.

Which stories are you most looking forward to?

Anna Jacobson: To be honest, I am looking forward to all the stories. It’s been several long years since The World Games 2017, and now that we are approaching the next edition, I just want to know all about the athletes! All about how they have been coping with the past couple of years, how they started with their sport, and what has made them who they are today. Of course the ones who already have been to the Games might have interesting stories to tell about the cultural differences, for example – and about the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, which are always huge experiences for the athletes. But I also want to hear about the expectations of the athletes for whom Birmingham will be the first time at The World Games. That first experience is always very special.

How many athletes have now qualified?

Anna Jacobson: You can find the athletes and countries that have already qualified here:

Most countries have not yet been able to allocate their country’s places to specific athletes. All in all, there will be around 3,600 athletes at The World Games 2022. This of course includes athletes from team sports as well.

How can the success of such a campaign be measured?

Anna Jacobson: Well, it can be measured with numbers, such as reach and viewings, but not only with these. We find it really important that the series creates interaction, awareness of our sports and athletes, and the spirit of “we are approaching The World Games in Birmingham together”. These latter objectives are more difficult to measure, but definitely as important as the “cold” numbers.

This is not the IWGA's first series to focus on athletes. What is the experience with, for example, your Instagram Take Overs?

Anna Jacobson: The experience has been incredibly positive. For over a year now, we’ve enjoyed 1-2 days a week story-takeovers by athletes from all around the world. It has been a true pleasure to see the everyday lives of the athletes from over 30 different sports, but maybe an even bigger thing for me has been the interaction between our athletes from different sports. It has been truly remarkable to see the bonds being created between the athletes – even when they have not actually met each other. I also often see that those athletes that have done a takeover earlier have a tendency to then watch later takeovers and also ask questions to the athlete taking over. They’ve been there, they are eager to see how others are doing, and they want to support them! Of course most of the story viewers are still regular sports fans, and I hope the takeovers make their days better too!

 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 11th edition of The World Games will be held in Birmingham, Alabama, USA, 7-17 July 2022. 3,600 athletes from 34 sports and over 100 countries will take part in The World Games.

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