- ClientRed Bull X-Alps
- Web redbullxalps.com
To some extreme athletes, hiking or flying from Austria to Monaco through the Alps might sound simple enough. However, every two years, the competitors of Red Bull X-Alps find out otherwise. The event is a non-stop adventure race where athletes brave scorching heat and freezing rain as they race across Europe’s most fearsome mountain range.
While the hardy competitors were running their feet off or soaring at 5,000m, our job is bringing the spectacle into the minds of hundreds of thousands of fans around the globe. It’s a job we’re pleased to say we do extremely well – in 2019, the race accumulated a massive 743 million consumer touchpoints.
The world’s toughest adventure race
When we first dreamed up the Red Bull X-Alps with our good friend Hannes Arch, it sounded just like that: a dream. Beyond achievable, and certainly beyond likely – a group of paragliders racing each other the entire distance of the Alps, from Salzburg to Monaco.
While incredibly daunting, the premise was simple enough – and in 2003, there were 17 paragliders crazy enough to do it. Just three of them finished.
By foot or flight across the Alps
The only way for competitors to make forward progress was by hiking – or flying. Using thermal lift to gain altitude, then soaring towards the next turnpoint, was by far the most effective way to move – and since the very beginning, the athletes that dominated the skies dominated the race.
Meanwhile, those athletes willing to grind it out on the ground – like Toma Coconea – remained fan favorites if only because of the sheer willpower with which they attacked the race.
360º Event Planning
From concept to completion, we own the entire task list for the Red Bull X-Alps. It’s event planning down the most minute detail – and there are many, many details.
The almost neverending to-do list includes all the stuff you’d expect: location agreements, sponsor acquisition and management, comms plans, press releases, press conferences, on-site display – all part of making sure the Red Bull X-Alps is a success for everyone involved.
But because of the unique nature of this media behemoth, there’s a few more things you probably haven’t thought of. We also have to put together the rules of the race, develop the route and make sure it’s both safe and doable while still being challenging and exciting, and of course, select from a pool of athletes which ones are up to the task. And it’s not over then. There’s still the design and production of event-specific sportswear and outerwear for both athletes and crew with our partner Salewa, press conferences and parties to plan and a lot of logistics.
Branding, image, and design
A race like this needs attitude and identity – and the way we give it that is strong branding and graphic design.
All visual materials and digital touchpoints follow the strict Red Bull X-Alps branding guidelines – from including it’s catchphrase ‘The world’s toughest adventure race’ wherever possible, to precise rules about sizing and positioning of sponsor logos. It’s a complicated job – but a key part of making an event professional, and not just a party.
TV, Newspapers, and magazines
The Red Bull X-Alps media blitz is thorough. By providing traditional mainstream media with easily accessible editorial packages, coverage is maximized beyond the typical action and adventure sports audience.
Between the personal and fan pages of each athlete and the official social media outlets of Red Bull X-Alps it’s almost impossible for a fan to catch every bit of news around the race – there’s just too much for one person to see. And that’s the way it’s supposed to be.
Fans of the Red Bull X-Alps are highly enthusiastic – while the bulk of communication centered around the robust website with live tracking – content went out on every social media channel available, with additional reporting directly from the race route via Facebook Live.
MILLIONS OF METERS, MILLIONS OF VIEWS
The collective effort of the athletes accumulated over the years is stunning – virtually countless kilometers covered, countless height meters ascended in descended.
More impressive? The reach of media activations and coverage– which had a massive 743 million audience contacts in 2019 alone.
HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE
The Red Bull X-Alps development requirements are unique: it’s not just servers and databases we’re working with. Data collection within our live tracking system requires real-time, constant connection with up to 150 different people using cell phones and GPS. This means we have a significant task when it comes to hardware evaluation and management, athlete and crew workshops to train everyone on use, and of course, feeding it all into the Red Bull X-Alps website and app ecosystem.
Custom-built live tracking
Our website at redbullxalps.com isn’t just a hub for information about athletes, rules, and the route – it’s the living, pulsing heart of the entire event.
Once the start gun is fired, every movement of every single athlete is tracked live on an interactive map, with multiple layers of information – location, direction of travel, speed, altitude, hiking or flying.
Not only could fans follow every spiral, lift, and zigzag the athletes made; they could also choose how to follow it. The ninth edition of Red Bull X-Alps had 2D tracking, POV from the athletes, a VR option, as well as the best 3D experience in live tracking ever! For the first time, fans could see the race and experience what it’s like to glide 2000m above sea level, all the way through the Alps.
A TECHNOLOGICAL ACHIEVEMENT
Building the Red Bull X-Alps website isn’t as simple as placing some images and text in a pre-made website template – it’s custom built from the ground up, and handles multiple millions of data points every time someone loads up the live tracker. It’s so unique, in fact, that Google did a case study on it – highlighting how we utilized services like Google Cloud to keep information up-to-date and on-point.
You guys truly embody the projects you are working on! This is what comes to my mind when I think of zooom productions. At events like Red Bull X-Alps you turn the athletes’ breathtaking journey through the Alps into a story that grabs attention around the world. You produce stories and pictures which thrill and inspire hundred of thousands of fans all around the globe. Thus your work is not only worth every cent for your client, but also of incalculable value for SalzburgerLand as an adventurous alpine destination.
Leo Bauernberger, Managing Director, Salzburg State Board of Tourism
JOIN THE RACE
Taking part in an event like this isn’t for every athlete – and it isn’t for every brand. It’s a serious commitment to even get involved – and if you do, trust us, you’ll be watching the race from the edge of your seat. But for the right brands, destinations and media outlets, it’s a unique opportunity to reach a massive audience of up to 743 million – there’s the potential for partnerships to take many different paths.
Let us know if you’re ready to race.