The media keep a careful eye on athletes’ progress. What they say and how they present themselves on and off the court matters. Elite badminton players are obligated to speak to the media post-match, even when they don’t want to.
Thankfully, players can use this media exposure to promote themselves and badminton, as well as win over new fans and possible sponsors, and it is here that BWF can provide the necessary tools to equip the players in their media development and understanding the media’s role.
BWF has teamed up with Seven League, one of the world’s premier digital and social consultancy organisations, to deliver its Star Creation Programme in September 2019 to enhance players’ social media skills and understanding. Other goals of the practical social media tutoring course were to:
- Grow their social media followers
- Generate better engagement with their fans
- Build their personal brand
- Inspire the next generation of players and fans; and
- Amplify player profiles
Over the years, social media has had a significant impact on sports fan involvement in various ways, with platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter becoming major tools for athletes to advertise themselves, attract new followers, and increase participation and engagement.
Initially designed to help grow the global popularity of players and badminton as a sport, the Star Creation programme has over the past several years seen the likes of superstars Sapsiree Taerattanachai, Reddy N. Sikki, Chirag Shetty, Michelle Li, Gronya Somerville, Lu Ching Yao and Yang Po Han receive weekly social media consultancy sessions from Seven League experts. In total over 15 badminton stars have soared in popularity on social media, appealing to new audiences.
The second phase of the programme involves practical media sessions for the players covering presentation, appearance, behaviour, types of interviews and what to say on camera, but was placed on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. BWF hopes to resume Phase 2 when there is an opportunity for one-on-one sessions and where camera usage and lights can be used in a practical setting.
Toma Junior Popov and Christo Popov have kick-started the fourth batch of the Star Creation Programme with women’s doubles players Thinaah Muralitharan and Pearly Tan from Malaysia for company.