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Discussion: Renewed Interest in Nav Sports?

in: Orienteering; General

Aug 25, 2020 3:30 PM # 
Pink Socks:
For some reason*, over the past 12 days or so, there's been an uptick in interest for all of the navigation-related Facebook pages that I'm an admin of. Likes, shares, joins, messages, tags, etc. (This especially notable because all of these accounts have been somewhat dormant for a while because we haven't had any events.)

Is anyone else seeing this spike of interest? And if so, do you have any ideas of how to capitalize on it?

*I'm kind of surprised that we haven't been talking about this yet over here, to be honest.
Aug 25, 2020 3:33 PM # 
I think there are some conversations about this on individual logs. The uptick seems closely related to the airing of World's Toughest Race on Amazon Prime, and I have seen the US Adventure Racing Association mention a huge spike in recent inquiries. I think it would be in OUSA's (and clubs') interest to associate us with the World's Toughest Race and point out the number of elite orienteers on several of the top teams in the race. I wonder if there is a marketing campaign to be had here...
Aug 25, 2020 3:38 PM # 
Pink Socks:
Boris perfectly translated my passive-aggressiveness, haha. Well done.
Aug 25, 2020 3:47 PM # 
Nav sports spiked in a big way in West Aus many years ago during the initial AR boom here but then died off just as quickly when people realised that they couldn't navigate and didn't want to take the time to learn.

I've also noticed that likes on FB pages don't necessarily equate to people turning up to events. A couple of years ago in our state association it was seen as a good thing to have all these likes from new people but then we'd just have all the regulars turn up anyway.
Aug 25, 2020 3:51 PM # 
Definitely seeing a major uptick in navigation interest on AR forums I monitor. But hard to capitalize since most club level activity including meets with beginner instruction are still on hold in most parts of the US.
Aug 25, 2020 3:56 PM # 
Pink Socks:
likes on FB pages don't necessarily equate to people turning up to events

To me, this sounds like a failure somewhere in the process. We've got people interested in lining up on one side of the bridge, and we're just expecting them to cross on their own. Perhaps there's a way where we cross the bridge over to them, and then eventually lead them back over.
Aug 25, 2020 4:29 PM # 
Suncoast Orienteering operates mostly along the western side of Florida from early November to mid April. We do not have a webpage but have a Facebook page. We also have had an increase in traffic and Facebook likes recently. However I interpreted that increase to my having posted links to events happening in our area - Tampa and Ft Myers - that are being staged by a guy in North Carolina. He calls them Pop-up Invisible Scavenger Hunts. The company is called Northline Navigation. It seems orienteering finally has what it has been lacking in North America for most of 50 years - a talented marketer.
Aug 25, 2020 4:35 PM # 
Gord, GVOC had a race sell-out (150 entries) in a couple of hours a few years ago. I think there's been some success.
Aug 25, 2020 4:48 PM # 
Thanks for starting this thread Patrick!

Question: since there are many Orienteering connections to Eco-Challenge, have any clubs started to say use social media to highlight their involvement? I don't think I've seen Orienteering Canada or US (must be worried about spoilers) but have clubs?
Aug 25, 2020 4:50 PM # 
QOC has been promoting it pretty heavily through social media (there is at least one QOC member who raced Eco Challenge).
Aug 25, 2020 4:50 PM # 
Yes, significantly. We've set up a page on the DGL website for newcomers from Eco Challenge:
Aug 25, 2020 4:56 PM # 
Pink Socks:
The navigator on one of the featured teams is from Orienteer Kansas (but now lives in Utah).

I'm not aware of any Seattle-area navigators, but there could be some athletes. (Another of the featured teams is from nearby Oregon, though).
Aug 25, 2020 9:51 PM # 
Pink Socks:
Good job on that DGL page, Patrick.

Cascade is (slowly) making the pivot to training opportunities during the pandemic, but maybe this is a good thing. The people interested in Eco need nav training, not necessarily nav-only, foot-only, measured-in-minutes-not-days orienteering races.
Aug 25, 2020 10:21 PM # 
O Joy:
ICO Club President, Mike Garrison, was on Team Strong Machine. His spotlight on the series comes in Episode 8. We talked about him in a couple of our FaceBook page posts.
Aug 25, 2020 10:31 PM # 
To me, this sounds like a failure somewhere in the process. We've got people interested in lining up on one side of the bridge, and we're just expecting them to cross on their own.

Not necessarily. I equate it more to those people who make a show of saying they have 50,000 FB friends or whatever. Yeah but how many of them do you actually communicate with or is it just so you can tell people how many friends you have? Sure it could be as you say and we are doing something about it - we have a couple of beginner days coming up to teach orienteering. Time will tell how many we get along.
Aug 26, 2020 4:54 AM # 
Two Australian ex-national team orienteers in the third placed team. At least one Kiwi international orienteer in the first placed team.
Aug 26, 2020 5:16 AM # 
The three Kiwi guys in the first placed team also do MTBO (in NZ) when it's not interfering with AR.
Aug 26, 2020 5:54 AM # 
FB may also have changed algorithms / UI for suggesting new goups/pages. Is there similar interest outsie FB?
Aug 26, 2020 5:07 PM # 
There is definitely increased interest in Navigation Activities also at school level - with schools and their program schedulers having to look into spending more time outdoors, look for social distancing options that are not going to have the usual price tag for field trips.
Aug 27, 2020 11:59 AM # 
I've been squatting on the domain name for sometime with the hope it could be used to make the sport more accessible / discoverable / marketable . All I've done is setup a few links that redirect to discipline specific sites:

I used the O-USA site when possible, but I couldn't find pages for each discipline.
Please reach out if you'd like to do more with this domain.

With some work, it could be a great SEO-optimized, gateway site to the sport.
Aug 28, 2020 12:46 AM # 
We've had an increased participation interest - but prior to the Eco challenge/advertising. We think it relates to "lockdown" and people reconnecting with nature, despite the need for some travel. With a bit of tweaking it can be seen as quite in line with social distancing etc, contactless.
Sep 2, 2020 1:49 PM # 
Many referrals to local orienteering clubs on the AR blogs too. Also, it is an entertaining show to watch... it seems that the navigation wasn't really that heavy in this race as in most AR, but is definitely a skill that is coming up in the facebook forums.

This discussion thread is closed.