There's not a sports team on earth that gives fans better insight into the inner workings of what they do than Orica GreenEDGE with their "Back Stage Pass" video series.
Every day during Grand Tours — and regularly throughout the season — they produce 8-10 minute clips that take you through the events of the day from start to finish. It's always compelling, upbeat and insightful. The gold standard for using social media to speak directly to fans of the team. A blue print for other teams and sports to follow.
During this year's Tour de France, Orica had a rough time with riders being caught in crashes and not an ounce of luck. Compare that to the Vuelta a España where the team is on a high with great success. So we get to see the team go through bad times and good. Here's one example, with the team on a high having the leaders jersey, then getting through a hectic crash, and the relief of simply surviving the day.
Each video tells a story. Clearly the riders are comfortable in the presence of cameraman Dan Jones as he quizzes them each morning on the team bus. The personal nature of these videos would not work if the team bus was a unfriendly environment, or if the riders were annoyed by the presence of the camera.
I'm sure there's plenty of coverage that's hidden from the camera; but none of what you do see feels fake. Clearly Orica GreenEDGE is a happy team to be a part of.
The volume of coverage cannot be understated. I remember a rule of thumb being told you need an hour of editing for each minute of video. These videos are released every day, it's little wonder Dan Jones is asleep during the day in so many of these clips.
Orica are in a unique spot as an Australian team, most of the events they compete in are shown in Australia between 10pm-2am, if televised at all. This means they simply must rely on other methods of communicating to fans back home. They cannot rely on the usual news cycle to keep them front of mind for their fans. So they communicate honestly, directly and regularly.
Could this work in other sports?
In cycling you win, or you were close to a win, or you'll have another go tomorrow. Plus with each days competition lasting hours there's at least a story to tell if you didn't finish near the front.
Compare this to AFL football for example where you have the high of a win or the low of a loss; without the chance of redemption for another week.
Still, it wouldn't be too difficult to copy the Orica blueprint:
- Short, candid interviews before the game
- GoPro's mounted to the interchange bench and coaches box
- Highlights from during the game
- Short, candid interviews after the game
But to make all this work it needs to be honest. You can't fake what Orica are doing, it's a genuine look into the lives of the athletes created by people who trust them to be around.
I'd love to see more of it.