USSA, YouTube collaborate on new channel
Ryan Summerlin November 17, 2012
Are you eager to watch live coverage of Torin Yater-Wallace’s and Gretchen Bleiler’s high-flying antics in the superpipe this winter?
Are you interested in following closely the exploits of nordic standouts Noah Hoffman, Simi Hamilton and Michael Ward as they look to make headway on the World Cup circuit?
The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association and YouTube have got you covered.
The ski team and the video-sharing site have joined forces to create the USSA network (www.youtube.com/ussanetwork), a versatile one-stop shop for original content on the country’s top winter standouts – everything from athlete-uploaded footage to event, lifestyle and feature programming.
“I started here in May, and we didn’t have a real strong video presence. We had a lot of content hidden on the Web, but it was not very navigable,” USSA chief marketing officer Michael Jaquet said Friday. “The biggest thing this does for us is get content out in front of a big audience, help us set up story lines and take control of messaging.”
The channel, which includes the weekly program “Snow Globe”, an eight- to 10-minute news broadcast, was unveiled Wednesday.
“The reception has been good so far. People are excited, talking about it and downloading videos,” said Jaquet, a former University of Colorado cross-country skier who served as a senior executive at CBS Sports before joining USSA.
“The good thing for us is that this is accomplishing a lot of different goals simultaneously. There’s a revenue-generating opportunity for us – we use all of the events and all media vehicles to raise sponsorship money to fund the team. YouTube is very straightforward, saying, ‘If you generate an audience with your content, we’ll pay you for it.’ Because of that, there’s a big incentive for us to put content on there that is good, to collaborate with athletes to pump a lot of content to the channel and generate more viewership. It’s a good ecosystem.”
Ski-racing fans will experience the benefits in the coming weeks. The channel will air live coverage of Dec. 1’s men’s World Cup super G on the famed Birds of Prey course in Beaver Creek. Additionally, Jaquet said local fans will want to tune in for behind-the-scenes footage of the Aspen Winternational. A giant slalom and slalom are slated for Nov. 24 and 25, respectively, on Aspen Mountain.
“We certainly believe there is a niche and a need for something like this,” Jaquet said. “We really can take advantage of people seeking out our athletes and content for sports that are not readily available on television. We can supply what they’re looking for, and it will all be in one place.
“This is ambitious, but it’s the right thing to do. That’s really what we’re most excited about.”