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How big are surfing webcasts? Vans sets record

John John Florence © Peter 'Joli' Wilson



Industry Updates

Record set for largest audience to watch an action sports event

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 19 December, 2013 - With an epic final day of the Billabong Pipe Masters webcast globally this past Saturday from Oahu's Banzai Pipeline, the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing (VTCS) set a record for the largest audience to ever witness an action sports event as more than 3.5 million people generated more than 3.9 million webcast streams and a staggering 2 million hours of webcast viewing.

Over 31 years of VTCS North Shore tradition as surfing's ultimate proving grounds, audiences from more than 70 countries witnessed the best professional surfing has to offer over three events at separate breaks: The Reef Hawaiian Pro from Haleiwa, The Vans World Cup of Surfing from Sunset Beach, and the Billabong Pipe Masters.

In addition, the Billabong Pipe Masters' final day set a one-day surfing webcast record with more than 1 million viewers generating more than 1.1 streams and a whopping 596,000 hours of streaming to see 10-foot, spitting Pipeline barrels ridden by 2013 ASP World Champion Mick Fanning, 2013 Vans Triple Crown of Surfing Champion John Florence, and 2013 Billabong Pipe Masters Champion Kelly Slater. 
"The gap between live surfing and live stick-and-ball sports has been officially erased," says Vans' VP Global Marketing and GM Americas Doug Palladini. "The quality of production, streaming and audience size make surfing the new gold standard in live interactive events, and we are blessed to have had the best surfers in the world collaborating with Mother Nature this year."
Multiple camera angles-including from the water looking into the tubes-along with instant replay, hi-definition super-slo-motion effects, aerial views, and interactivity with show hosts drove millions of viewers to spend an incredible 1.1 million hours of streaming, many binge-watching for eight hours at a time.

During the Billabong Pipe Masters final day, a massive buzz lead trending topics across social platforms and drove an equally large interactive audience, resulting in event totals of more than 2.2 million viewers generating 2.3 million streams in surfing's largest one-event webcast ever.

"When the stars line up as they did for this year's event, I am not surprised to see all previous webcast records smashed," says Billabong's VP Global Marketing Graham Stapelberg. "However, it took a truly dedicated and talented team to achieve this year's new highs, for which we are wholeheartedly thankful."
With almost every heat holding a title, championship, or World Tour qualification outcome in the balance, drama was omnipresent throughout the VTCS's six weeks, but never higher than the final day of the Billabong Pipe Masters, with waves as big as Pipeline can handle.

"Today was one of the most special days in my life," says Billabong Pipe Masters Champion Kelly Slater. "It's a day I have dreamed about since I was a little kid - big, perfect, West-angled Pipeline and a showdown at the Pipe Masters. If I had stepped away from the sport five years ago, I wouldn't have had today. I want more days like this so I'm definitely back next year."


Jodi Wilmott

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