Interview: Are Olympic teams, organisers media companies now?

It’s not just broadcast rightsholders, accredited media and outside publishers who are building online tools and destinations for this summer’s Olympic Games. Organisers and even sporting teams are vying for audience share, too…
Team GB (AKA the British Olympic Association) will debut two of its own new digital products next Monday – a “Team GB Live” mobile and web app to give fans customisable real-time data, and a fan gallery that is intended as a digital legacy project.
Team GB digital marketing manager and online editor Joe Morgan told me, in a video discussion at Team GB House on the Olympic Park:

“In previous Olympics, the power has been in the broadcasters to tell the fans what they should consume.
This is the first Olympics where we see the power of the fans to decide what they want to know about.”

Several of the Games’ key stakeholders have each been building their own online and social products to engage and inform fans…

As they do so, they risk pushing out overlapping propositions. But do they also replicate the traditional role of media in giving information and data to sports fans?
IOC communications director Mark Adams told paidContent:

We have become a content producer in a way that we never were before.
“I don’t think that’s a bad thing – it doesn’t threaten you guys in any way – it’s complementary, if anything.
“In the old days, 20 years ago, the split between the organiser and the IOC was very clear – they did they national stuff and we did international stuff – you can’t do that anymore.”

Team GB’s focus is purely domestic and centred on relationship-building, Morgan said:

“This is going to be the first games told in 140 characters. There’s going to be so much noise out there that we really want to focus on what’s happening from a GB perspective – our role is not just from an athlete perspective but also a fan engagement perspective.”

Each organisation sees their online efforts as complementary to, rather than competitive with, broadcaster and publisher digital output. But it is often the case that “media” companies are disintermediated by groups which don’t see themselves as media companies.