By Lillo Montalto Monella
There are two different philosophies that could be followed to liveblog a three-week road bicycle stage race. One is to make sport fans feel like they are listening to the action from an old dusty radio; the other is to recreate that captivating setting of the bar corner, where people swap commentarywith their buddies. Only you get the racers themselves to join the conversation.
To cover this year’s Giro d’Italia, one of the most prestigious stage races in the world, a website for bikes aficionados called Red Kite Prayer chose to go all the way for the second path.
They manage to make the most out of ScribbleLive’s embed code with a simple yet winning formula: creating an easy-to-navigate chronology of the Giro by embedding a new live blog for each of the 21 stages on the same page.
A team of racers participating in the fascinating Italian bicycle race is also connecting with its fans through an embedded live blog: it’s Team Sky, starring the 26-year-old world champion Mark Cavendish.
Richard Simpson, website and communication executive within the team, explains that they started using this tool during the Spring Classics, and debuted it at the Milan-Sanremo on March 17th.
“Our aims are to be as open and engaging as we can with our fans. To generate discussion, answer questions and give fans more of an insight into our team,” Simpson wrote in an email.
“Among the benefits of Scribble are the Twitter and Facebook interactivity, and the ability to create a colorful and interesting stream of information, particularly with the use of pictures.”
Thanks to the ‘pin’ tool, Sky Team’s bloggers highlight technical insights; results, overall standings and road previews of each stage, from the long drags of Denmark to the most mythical climb of it all, the Passo dello Stelvio.
“The ability to translate the updates for audiences in different countries is appealing for a global team like Team Sky,” Simpson added.
While the ‘big team’ is out at the races, a person at the office organizes the blog stream and uploads the horde of pics coming in, many of which are spiced up with Instagr.am filters. At the end of each sprint, readers and racers loosen up tense muscles while watching the daily stage photo gallery or reading the race analysis.
Simpson admits that they “have found interaction to be difficult to encourage,” which is why his team and the Red Kite Prayer team are trying to take the coverage of cycling stage races coverage to the next level.
Other media outlets are stuck instead with the old-dusty-radio philosophy, inviting readers to stay tuned for live updates but not fostering the conversation amongst them.