The new "Heroes" of beach volleyball can be seen on signage throughout the tournament venue. (ATR)
(ATR) Beach volleyball’s brightest stars are the focus of a new marketing campaign launched this week by the FIVB on the sidelines of the sport’s world championships.
Thursday marked the official beginning of the “FIVB Heroes” promotion whereby images of 13 male and 16 female players are prominently displayed at Rome’s Foro Italico and throughout the city.
The project is part of a comprehensive brand re-launch using billboards, posters, video segments and a new website
with the aim of enhancing the visibility and profiles of the athletes.
“It is a new era for beach volleyball,” said FIVB beach volleyball events director Angelo Squeo, who has worked with the federation for 17 years.
“I’m really proud to state a new mission to bring this spectacular sport of beach volleyball to the world. We think that ‘FIVB Heroes’ is the perfect campaign to communicate such an important mission.”
Kerri Walsh of the U.S. and Emanuel Rego of Brazilgot statues as part of the new campaign. (ATR)
“In the past, we were always communicating about the institution, but now we want to communicate about our stars, our heroes, the people in the field of play who are suffering while preparing themselves and dedicating their lives to our sport.
Two of beach volleyball’s biggest stars – four-time Olympian Emanuel Rego of Brazil and three-time world champion Kerri Walsh of the U.S. – were present Thursday morning as giant four-meter tall statues of their likenesses were unveiled just outside the Foro Italico’s main stadium.
“The world has really embraced our sport and it has so much momentum and rallying behind it,” said Walsh, 32, who has successfully partnered with Misty May-Treanor to win gold at the last two Olympics.
“Beach volleyball combines all of the amazing things you want in life: the lifestyle is beautiful, the sport is so entertaining and sexy, but also very intense and world class. You have wonderful people competing in a sport they love, so I feel that all of this makes it very relatable to the public and people want a piece of it.”
The real life Walsh and Rego. (ATR)
Brazil’s Emanuel, 38, has competed in every Olympic beach volleyball competition since the sport made its debut at the 1996 Atlanta Games. He won gold in Athens 2004 and bronze in Beijing 2008 and is viewed as the sport’s greatest ambassador.
“I’ve seen it grow from being a recreational game to where it is now at such a high and complex level,” said Emanuel, who began playing the sport on the beaches of Rio de Janeiro. “It’s hard to see one sport grow and develop so fast in 20 years. It’s an emotional game and I think we’re still improving so it’s important to have new tools like this to keep it at a high level.”
Guido Betti is the director of television and marketing for the FIVB and an instrumental part of the creative process for the campaign, which involved photo and video shoots in Switzerland, Tokyo and Rome.
“We wanted to reposition the organization and the sport starting with branding and part of the branding process as you see inside the venue is the new logo and new upscale way to show how professional our sport is,” said Betti.
“We want to give this image to the players because they are really the actors and the people we want them to represent our sport, he said.
Additionally, the FIVB has revamped the Olympic qualification process for beach volleyball this year with more events at different levels factoring into the process. In just two years, the number of countries vying for Olympic berths has risen from 50 to 156.
Guido Betti. (ATR)
“This is historic - we wanted to involve the whole world, not just a few countries,” said Squeo. “We also think that with the ‘Heroes’ campaign we can be more effective at any level, not just on the world tour, but also the continental and world cups.”
Substantial Olympic qualifying points are at stake this week in Rome, as 96 teams from 34 countries try to move closer to a trip to next summer’s London games. Medal matches will be contested Sunday.
“We are here in a historical and iconic place, but we are launching modernity in beach volleyball,” said Squeo.
Television and Web Coverage for World Champs
The internationally televised event is being produced by Italian broadcaster La7 with 46 global networks as rightsholders.
The tournament's showcase court is within the recently renovated 10,000-seat tennis stadium at the Foro Italico. (ATR)
“We produce eight matches per day and are being distributed in more than 147 countries,” said Betti. “It is a big record and we are absolutely more than happy with that.”
Ten cameras, including three handhelds and a jib camera, are being utilized in the production in the main stadium, which can seat 10,000 spectators.
“For beach volleyball, everything is experimentation,” said Betti. “For this world championships we are experimenting with a super slow-motion camera in the sand, not like the normal fixed one in the corner.”
“We’re trying to show facial angles that you usually don’t see and create more excitement,” he said.
Free live-streaming of matches is offered on the FIVB website with additional segments and interviews being shown on the federation’s YouTube channel.
“Our future is not only the marketing, but also the TV and web part and even adapting new rules to the game,” continued Betti. “We are trying to find a way that we can utilize new technology with shooting and broadcasting. For sure, we are in full development.”
Written in Rome by Brian Pinelli.
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