The Role of Digital Media across the Peace Through Sport Movement
We have all just witnessed an incredible 4th edition of the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. With a record number of projects from every corner of the world, the Day is growing to become the centre-point of an entire movement indelibly etched in people’s consciousness. As Peace and Sport President and Founder – Mr. Joel Bouzou – has previously mentioned, tens of millions of people joined their voices to the #WhiteCard and the #WePlayTogether campaigns, thus expanding the unifying power of sport. But how did we manage to reach this level of global reach and what should be the next steps to continue this growth?
In our globalised world everything is connected. The challenges we face are of global scale and they require global solutions. This means we need to learn to collaborate better. That’s why digital media is not the medium of the future; it is the medium of the present. According to the New York Times, over 57% of the population in North America and EU are opting to get their news through digital media. This number skyrockets to 76% amongst millennials. As technological advances continue and more countries get access to faster internet, these figures are expected to soar. This makes it even more critical for us to understand and then incorporate digital media capabilities to further advance the peace through sport movement.
Video is an extremely effective way to tackle stereotypes and inspire social change. Global video traffic accounts for 72% of entire Internet traffic, and is expected to reach 82% by 2020. Creating and sharing emotional and relevant video content is both cost-effective and can produce magnificent results if used strategically. At Eleven Campaign our mission is to create educational videos and philanthropic events that use the power of sport to celebrate diversity and promote equality and cross-cultural collaboration.
This year, to promote a unified peace message and our April 6 open event “Unite THAMall” we worked with two major rival Greek football clubs, AEK Athens FC and Panathinaikos FC, to produce a video on the eve of their derby. The video entitled “And the Winner is…Football” depicts a professional player from each club teaming up with a child from the opposition’s academy and participating in a co-operative flick-ups contest. Its clear message of collaboration through sport received great reviews from football fans across the country: it was broadcast on national networks and then screened at the stadium’s matrix prior to the kick-off. Such was the impact of the video that more than 30,000 people, primarily children and young people, came to attend the 3-day event.
There are countless fantastic social projects and sport initiatives that, despite producing great results on the ground, don’t succeed in making themselves heard or seen by the broader public due to their inability to create and distribute compelling original content. While there might be plenty of reasons behind this, the truth remains that this is a waste of resources for the advancement of the entire movement. Sharing all these inspiring stories with people who want to listen to them should be at the top of our priorities if we want to truly mobilize people.
Additionally, the rise of digital media has given us a great opportunity to work on common digital projects that can foster international cooperation and amplify our reach. There is momentum from the April 6 campaigns that should be sustained and used in more joint actions and campaigns that promote the use of sport as a platform for development and peace.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in Peace and Sport Watch are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of Peace and Sport.