As part of the 2021-22 Annual Report Series, we look at the update on BF’s media and communications.
2021-22 saw BF’s communications continue across the website and social media channels. The year started with the final episode from the TAP Speaks series started in 2020-21, which led to BF’s CEO Georgina Usher and TAP’s Sam Parfitt joining Dame Katherine Granger on UK Sport’s ‘Medals and More’ podcast to discuss BF’s social impact work in May 2021.
Tokyo 2020 (2021)
Tokyo’s postponed Olympics provided opportunities to reach new audiences. Marcus Mepstead’s team announcement and subsequent press resulted in BF reaching a potential audience of 335 million, compared to 288 million in the last Olympic cycle of Summer 2016 (data estimate provided by media monitoring tool Meltwater). BF announced a new Olympic Zone and Alumni Club and revealed the new GBR kit ahead of the Games.
BF TV filmed interviews with zonal qualifier competitors Will Deary, Susan Sica, Caiti Maxwell, Phil Marsh and Yasmin Campbell. Along with video workouts with Marcus and Olympic alumni video interviews, BF also celebrated the career and retirement of Richard Kruse with special interviews in The Sword and a filmed interview of his career hosted by Johnny Davis, which premiered to 302 views on July 1st 2021 and was seen over 1,700 times in 2021-22.
We also shared the reports on the success of GBR’s Paralympic team and looking ahead, 2022-23 will see a new Para Fencing Zone on the BF website following the transfer of responsibilities from British Disability Fencing.
Throughout 2021-22, BF continued to use its platforms to celebrate its diverse membership whilst also providing timely information and guidance as the fencing community navigated the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions at different levels across the Home Countries. The website series ‘My Fencing World’ shared stories from across the UK fencing community as clubs and coaches navigated the return to the piste. We said #EnoughisEnough with a social media halt in protest of online abuse in April 2021, and celebrated Black History Month in October.
Changing the Channel
In November 2021, BF joined sports video platform Recast where members and fans support BF through sharing and watching content. BF live streamed the 2021 Senior Nationals and will create more content on the channel in 2022-23. The credits-based platform allows for ad free content, and BF benefits from a micro-transaction for every view or share.
BF also shared new Whatsapp groups for GBR fencers, a new channel providing weapon specific information and also shared a ‘Podcast of the Week’, showcasing interesting podcasts recommended by BF staff members.
International Event Coverage
After a break from international reporting due to COVID-19, we celebrated the success of our Junior (U20) and Cadet (U17) GBR fencers at the European Championships in March 2022. The medal reports from the squad’s performance after a 2-year hiatus were punctuated with a special report about the Junior Women’s Epee team. As the first GBR fencing team to draw Russia since the Ukraine crisis began, the team of Julia Caron, Hannah Lebor, Imogen Bulman and Rachael Lever withdrew from the European Championships as a mark of respect and solidarity to the Ukrainian Fencing Family, causing a domino effect through the tableau that resulted in Russia’s withdrawal and the continuation of the competition for further events. As the squad returned home, the year closed with BF’s community coming together once again to support our international fencing family during world events as BF put the call out for Homes for Ukraine.
Looking ahead to 2022-23, the BF Instagram account will see an increase in engaging content as the account reached a critical follower level of over 4,000 during 2021-22, the largest growth on its social platforms. BF’s Learning Week will be launched on the BF website and the Communications team is planning expansion with the addition of a new Content Coordinator role.
By platform 2020-21 compared to 2021-22. Growth across all channels.
Facebook 11,285 to 11,435
Twitter 10,788 to 10.983
Instagram 3,531 to 4,211
Linkedin – 1053 to 1305
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