World Archery on indoor title sponsor, hosting interest and heart rate monitors
By Martin Ross
World Archery, the sport's governing body, will look for a title sponsor for the Indoor World Series once the revamped tour is successfully up and running.
The international federation received bids from prospective hosting cities on 15 May, and is now focused on launching the expanded version of the existing Indoor Archery World Cup in 2018-19.
Speaking to Sportcal at World Archery’s Lausanne headquarters, secretary general Tom Dielen said that finding a sponsor to put its name to the series of between six and eight stages has already been discussed, but could only become a reality once the new format is introduced.
Dielen said: “The first step is getting it going and then in the second phase we definitely want to see if we can find a title sponsor for the Indoor World Series when we have the product that we can go to a sponsor with.
“We already mentioned it in certain discussions with our current sponsors to see if there is interest or not. There is some interest, but they all said show us that it works and then come with a concrete proposal. They don’t want to sign a blank cheque without knowing what they’re getting in to.
“The concept is different from the outdoor events. The Indoor World Series has an elite level but also has a ‘sport for all’ component and that is the aspect that needs a different approach in terms of sponsors and what we can achieve there.”
The sale of sponsorship rights inventory at World Archery’s outdoor events has been very much controlled by the international federation, whereas local organisers of indoor tournaments have been able to sell their own sponsorships.
World Archery’s existing sponsors, which comprise Longines, Hyundai, Sportoto and Errea, have received some branding at indoor competitions, but mainly as a goodwill exercise from organisers and the world body, and not as a contractual commitment.
Upon announcing the new-look Indoor World Series in March, World Archery specified that local organising committees could attract "as many sponsors as they wish," but that there would be a ban on alcohol and tobacco companies.
Host city announcements are scheduled to be made in the middle of next month and nine cities from four different continents are vying to stage events.
Along with a bid from Africa, there are three bids from Asia on the table, plus three from Europe and two from the Americas.
Dielen noted: “We have two others that want to do it from 2019 or 2020 onwards. We would loved to have Oceania as well and there was discussion with Australia but in the end they decided not to go for it at this stage.”
Dielen was buoyed by some applications that the international federation “wasn’t expecting,” having initially forecast a minimum of six bids.
Nîmes in France and Las Vegas, two long-established venues of well-supported indoor archery tournaments, are considered odds-on to remain on the calendar, while World Archery must evaluate the long-term sustainability of potentially three events in Asia given that it is a region more focused on outdoor archery.
A top-tier 1000 event on the Indoor World Series will cost SFr15,000 ($15,060) to stage, and must offer a minimum prize fund of SFr60,000. A 500-level event will cost SFr10,000 to put on, with a minimum prize fund of SFr30,000, while a 250 event will cost SFr5,000, and pay out a minimum of SFr15,000.
Wearable technology and host broadcast World Archery continues to test heart rate technology at its events, having first done so in 2010 and as it looks to fine-tune the offering in time for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Experimentation of the technology continued at last month’s Hyundai Archery World Cup leg in Shanghai, the opening event of the circuit.
Dielen observed: “We had a test in Shanghai of a new technology for heart rate. It’s definitely still what we want to achieve in terms of innovation for Tokyo. The question is now there is the technology, what exactly do you want to achieve?
“Is it about showing a spot measurement of heart rate, to show its evolution or [showing] the heart rate of the one watching the other one shoot? There are a lot of variations now. Technology-wise we can certainly deliver something but the question is what we want to achieve with it. Is it going to enhance the broadcast product?”
The accuracy of the heart rate technology in the past has been affected by weather conditions with some events taking place in temperatures of up to 40 degrees Celsius.
World Archery recently turned to a new host broadcaster for its World Cup events, appointing QTV Sports, the UK-based multimedia production company, to replace Hit The Roof, the Switzerland-based firm that had held the contract since 2006.
QTV Sports’ work began in Shanghai and the initial feedback has been “very positive,” according to Dielen.
He said: “It definitely went better than we had hoped and we start to see that certain choices we have made are definitely giving a return. Be it the way we structured the live production, the highlights, the news, live clipping or the social media aspect.
“We want to localise [content] as much as we can without investing huge resources either as we’re not a big federation which has all kinds of resources.”
Some new innovations will require more time to perfect, Dielen said, including training for judges now equipped with microphones for the first time.
However, he added: “There was a much stronger link between the TV commentator and the director and this made it possible for the commentator to have a better interaction with the actual images. It was more in synch. In the past the commentator was reacting to what he saw.”
Spanish-language highlights have now been produced from events, and World Archery is working with Broadreach Media, the boutique media services agency, to distribute the package to interested broadcasters.
A highlights agreement has also been struck with pay-TV’s Sky in New Zealand as the country returns to international competition.
On the media distribution strategy, Dielen noted: “We localise the news coverage so we can do much more and it’s step by step. We get them the news with their archers, then build it up to highlights and the final step of course is delayed or delayed live.”