Digital and social media play an important role in promoting sports participation and generating engagement for fans.
In recognition of the need that the long-term growth of badminton is dependent on creating star players who act as role models and inspire fans across the world, Badminton World Federation (BWF) partnered with one of the world’s leading digital and social consultancy agencies, Seven League, to deliver its Star Creation Programme.
The Star Creation Programme is designed to help grow both the global popularity of players and badminton as a sport.
Over the past six months, leading athletes Kim Astrup (DEN), Mia Blichfeldt (DEN), Ashwini Ponnappa (IND), Sapsiree Taerattanachai (THA) and Beiwen Zhang (USA) participated in a practical social media tutoring course with the goal to:
▸Enhance their social media skills and understanding
▸Grow their social media followers
▸Generate better engagement with their fans
▸Build their personal brand
▸Inspire the next generation of players and fans; and
▸Increase their brand value
In April 2020, the five players graduated from phase one of the pilot programme taking away with them a number of social media best practices.
“The [Star Creation] Programme was great. I loved being part of it,” said Ponnappa. “The team [at Seven League] helped me understand the importance of social media and interacting with fans.
“I loved the creative ideas that were shared and I have definitely enjoyed posting and being more open about sharing things.”
Blichfeldt added: “The programme has given me more confidence and the understanding of how to make good content and get more involved with my followers.”
BWF Secretary General Thomas Lund said he hoped each Star Creation athlete would encourage their peers to consider joining the programme.
“Badminton players have a unique opportunity to develop a close relationship with fans.
“We worked with Seven League to develop a programme to help athletes do this so that they can be a star on and off the court.
“We are very satisfied with the results of the pilot programme and we look forward to seeing more players sign up in the coming years.
“Hopefully, this will inspire all our players to become active on social media to create even more attention on themselves as stars and badminton in general.”
A second batch of players have already begun their weekly sessions with Seven League as part of phase two of the project. They include Michelle Li, Gronya Somerville, Chirag Shetty, Reddy N. Sikki, Lu Ching Yao and Yang Po Han.
The next step is to commence advanced interview and media training tips to help prepare athletes for major tournaments like the Olympic Games.