Para snow sports experienced large gains on their social media and digital platforms during their recent World Championships, as interest grows with one year to go until the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games.
An exciting, action packed season for alpine skiing, snowboard and Nordic skiing will reach its climax with the PyeongChang 2018 Test Events which get underway on Friday (10 March).
The competitions, which will also act as the World Cup Finals for alpine skiing and snowboard and the penultimate World Cup for Nordic skiing, will attract 240 athletes from 31 countries.
That represents the biggest ever gathering of winter Para athletes outside of the Paralympic Winter Games.
In the build-up the 2017 World Para Alpine Skiing Championships in Tarvisio, Italy, attracted record numbers of visitors to the sport’s website and social media channels.
More than 40,000 people visited worldparaalpineskiing.org in four weeks, topping visitor numbers for March 2014 during the Sochi Paralympic Winter Games.
On Facebook and Twitter, Tarvisio 2017 had a reach of 1.9 and 7.3 million respectively. World Para Alpine Skiing streamed all competitions via Facebook Live for the first time and also produced more video content than ever before, helping the event’s global reach.
The top five countries following the action via the livestream and social media were Great Britain, Italy, the USA, France and the Netherlands.
The chance to cover the incredible performances of the athletes in the penultimate season ahead of PyeongChang 2018 also attracted a record number of media.
Since the first World Cup in December 2016, Facebook ‘likes’ have increased by 47 per cent to the end of February 2017.
The results of the 2017 World Para Snowboard Championships provide an excellent basis from which the sport can build on the road to its second Paralympic Winter Games appearance.
Having launched Facebook and Twitter accounts for the sport in 2015 and Instagram in 2016, the Worlds in Big White, Canada, prove there is an appetite for Para snowboard amongst fans.
On Facebook 124,000 people viewed highlights with 41,000 minutes watched over the two days of banked slalom and snowboard-cross competitions, as well as the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. ‘Likes’ have more than doubled since the start of the season in November.
Worldparasnowboard.org was also not launched until October 2015, after the World Championships in La Molina, Spain. It had its best ever month during February 2017. Based on analysis of Facebook and the website, Dutch, US, Canadian, British and French fans were the top audiences.
The 2017 World Para Nordic Skiing Championships in Finsterau, Germany, saw interest in Para cross-country skiing and Para biathlon reach new heights.
The competition reached nearly two million people on Facebook and Twitter, with 356,000 views on Facebook and on demand. Followers on Facebook have increased by 50 per cent since December 2016.
Finsterau 2017 was also a hit in host country Germany, with the nation topping the viewing and social media figures ahead of Ukraine, the USA and Great Britain. Canada were also in the top five as the hosts of the 2019 World Championships in Prince George.
New fans to all sports will be treated to the PyeongChang 2018 Test Events, which run alongside each other between 10-18 March.
Snowboard and biathlon begins on Friday (10 March), followed by alpine skiing on 12 March.
Live results will be available at the respective sport websites.