I recommend word-searching the below search terms to find the part you would personally find interesting.
I previously worked in the International Quidditch Association (IQA) as the Deputy Communications Director, and assisted with the IQA World Cup for promotion. I currently work in the Quidditch Premier League (QPL) as the Communications Director. My views do not necessarily represent the views of both organisations.
- QuidditchUK activities
- IQA World Cup
- Quidditch Premier League Fixtures and Championship
Imagine a cooking pot over a hot fire, and emblazoned on it is the IQA World Cup logo.
Now, imagine tossing in a pinch of salt – actually, no, let’s have a bucket of salt, sourced from a community generally unhappy with the IQA World Cup.
Then toss in lack of sleep, staying up until 2am multiple times to sort an array of issues, including sorting tickets and financials.
And others come to help make the meal – members of the World Cup committee, Quidditch Italy (AIQ), and supportive friends. The meal would taste the same, but it tastes better when made with people you care about.
Finally, the pot is promoted across the world, and it appears in places from subway stations in Austria to TVs in Thailand. The meal had issues, but the world didn’t need to taste it, and saw the pot as it was.
The team working together ahead of the IQA World Cup. Photo credit: Tom Ffiske
Working on the IQA World Cup was the most stressful experience of my life, but also one of the most rewarding. Not because of its eventual impact or the skills learned along the way, but because of the camaraderie whilst organising it. Later in this article, I will detail my key lessons.
As Anton Ego of Ratatouille said, one of the most difficult things to do in the world is defend the new. Sometimes it can be very difficult to fully accept something unfamiliar or strange, but with enough repetition and a stalwart attitude, the world can bend ever so slightly to your favor, even just a little.
In 2016, I wrote about the development of quidditch and made some insights on the sport, and it’s a different feeling from last year. I outlined actions to pursue through 2017, including gender equality in photography, calling at 8am for pitching, clarity of messaging, and halting harassing singular teams – all of which came through in 2017.
In 2017, I argued that what used to be easier – selling a story in the press – has become harder. The story went from new to niche, and it needed a more coordinated and expansive strategy.
This year, we touched on this with the IQA and QPL, though I feel we could have been more expensive. The framework is clear, it just needs to be applied.
QuidditchUK had a fantastic year for media, with a strong social team that has created great graphics for the organisation.
I want to profile the communications team (Jade Broomby, Fiona Stevens, Anna O’Gara, and Emma Bramwell) for working tirelessly to promote quidditch across the UK.
Linked to this, the Quidditch Scotland promotion has been excellent as well, promoting individual players as well as their travels around the world. Both QuidditchUK and the Scottish team should be emulated by other groups, as their work has been exemplary.
IQA World Cup
In December 2017, I flew to Florence to survey the site and attend a press conference. The Human Company were welcoming and lovely, and we discussed plans to promote the IQA World Cup and ensure that it went smoothly. I wrote a report on what was agreed, with a list of actions for the IQA, Human Company, and AIQ. I couldn’t wait for the event to happen.
Fast forward to June 2018. Papers littered the room, several unwashed plates on the table. Several books piled on one corner, including a beefy Brandon Sanderson novel. This in itself was normal, but what was not normal was that it was the third consecutive post-midnight evening working on the IQA World Cup, skyping friends while sorting details. In this case, it was sorting the tickets announcement.
For us, it became a tradition to skype and keep each other sane while working. Pauline Raes, Nicole Hammer, Sarah Louise-Lewis, and Edan Nissen regularly called during work to laugh and chat, as a fun coping mechanism. This is alongside other friends who were incredibly supportive.
Soon, the IQA will provide a full report on the IQA World Cup, detailing everything that happened up to and during the event. I doubt the report will do justice to the volunteers who worked thanklessly and incredibly hard to make the event work.
The WC Committee at the IQA World Cup. Photo credit: Ajantha Abey Quidditch Photography
Ultimately, the external media for the World Cup was exemplary. Ruhr Phoenix TV provided an incredibly high-standard livestream, with very few complaints. (Except one – an American complained that the livestream was on while they were asleep, and that the stream should be adjusted so he could watch. Someone didn’t understand timezones). If Ruhr Phoenix TV were used again, few would complain, and most would celebrate.
Working closely with the Human Company, we also ensured the World Cup made a big impact in Italy on TV, livestreamed the opening ceremony through TIME and ABC, and announced the results worldwide through Reuters. It is no exaggeration that the event reached millions of people worldwide, including areas without quidditch. I am incredibly proud of the team.
(Special shout out to my family, who came along to watch for the first time, and subsequently bought way too much merchandise from Jack Lennard who manned the stall).
The IQA also worked with Airtasker for the promotion of the competition in collaboration with VT, which also went very well. The website had a lot of people who applied to be Team UK’s waterperson, and the responses were very entertaining. (It was a mix of Harry Potter fans and full-on sports people). In the end, the winning couple said they had a great time during the event. Overall, I would love to organise something like this again.
What does the IQA think? Andy Marmer, Interim Director of the IQA, comments on the mediaL
“Every two years World Cup gives us an incredible opportunity to reach global media. The opportunity to bring quidditch to the world is one of the defining features of World Cup and this past World Cup was no exception. Our livestream reached nearly 40,000 viewers and, as you know, was promoting in major global and national publications including Reuters, Euronews, ABC news, the Slovak Spectator and the Economic Times in India.
“We hope to see media attention move from novelty coverage into regular coverage of quidditch as a serious sport. We’ve already seen that in the flavor of news – with coverage moving from talking about quidditch as “that Harry Potter sport” to coverage of quidditch as a legitimate sport befitting of the athletes who play.
“Of course we’re not alone in promoting the sport of quidditch with NGBs and organizations like MLQ and QPL being crucial to that effort.
The biggest factor that we think will play into increased coverage is more time. From my experience on the media side of things, I found the more I covered quidditch, the more my audience knew about it and the more I could treat it as a legitimate sport; we expect to see that progression continue and are really excited to witness it. We’ve had some exciting media related opportunities already and we suspect that will continue, which is really exciting to us!”
I agree with Andy, and we will touch on how consistency is important later in the article, However, in some respects, the internal communications were weak. Constant updates on the Facebook page, without all the information being condensed into a single platform, made it tricky for players to track what was happening. Having a website that was easy to update would have clarified the event details.
These issues arose because several key details of the event were not solidified until soon before the event, meaning a rush to finalise documents. I cannot go into details, though if certain details were resolved sooner, then it would have been a smoother process.
Overall it was an incredibly valuable experience, and it shaped how I want to do the Quidditch Premier League, and its Championship, in 2019.
After the opening speech of the IQA World Cup. Photo credit: Ajantha Abey Quidditch Photography
Quidditch Premier League Fixtures and Championship
Early in 2018, I sat down with Gio Forino to explore how to promote the QPL. While I have some communications experience, I knew little about how other sports promoted their Leagues and teams. In one evening, Gio and I created a wish-list of what we should do to raise the profile of the QPL and maximise its potential.
We partially fulfilled the wish list. We placed players at the heart of the sport, profiling them and their stories. We delivered results and statistics in speedy fashion (with thanks to Lizzie Walton who is, again, one of the most important volunteers in the community). We leveraged the photos to make quidditch look as professional and inclusive as possible.
The QPL team is excellent, and I want to thank Sam Senior, Jenny Krafczyk, Emma Jones, Laura Jamieson, and Anna O’Gara for their help in the communications team, and Raza Khan with the partnerships.
Northern Division of the QPL. Photo credit: Howard Orridge
Most importantly, we made a stellar website, with the help of Jack Lennard, Dominic Ayre, Lizzie Walton, and myself. This showed the sport at our best, with information on the season, pages on each of the teams with their history, and a staff page to profile the volunteers who work hard behind the scenes. The website will become the home of the QPL, with massive potential for us and our sponsors.
However, we could have gone further. Promoting individual teams to increase their influence on the local level is bold, especially as we have 17 teams from across Europe. We have done this to an extent, scheduling content across Facebook and Twitter from the team accounts, though I hope the new Managers of the new teams will do what they can to promote their own teams come 2019.
As ever we continued to promote the QPL on the local level, with some success. However, promoting the Championship on the national level was tricky, and our partnerships in Cardiff brought limited benefits.
London Monarchs winning the Quidditch Premier League Championship 2018. Photo credit: Quidditch Premier League
The key goals in 2019 are to continue our work, though with a focus on teams and the website.
Most importantly, I want to pre-prepare as much as possible, The QPL season is a massive rush, where events happen each week with little rest. The work will only grow as we expand into Europe. To prepare for this, we intend to prepare all the necessary materials months beforehand, and schedule them for during the season. In that way, we have more breathing space whilst continually promoting the organisation.
This is also partially why we made several new hires, and promoting Anna O’Gara to help oversee; the more hands, the better.
I am also keen to grow Youth Quidditch, working with Enrich Education (in collaboration with QuidditchUK) and Kieran Newton. As a growth area, it is really fun to work on (especially when kids send letters to the Scottish Parliament).
Welsh Dragons winning their first match. Photo credit: Tom Ffiske
Overall, I am both excited and nervous for 2019. Nervous as the QPL is now an international organisation, with the responsibility that brings. Yet I am excited for how it will go, as there is great potential to promote its growth globally.
The hobby has grown to a two-year-old toddler, though that toddler has a lot of people taking care of it. I’m keen to see how it continues to grow.
Thoughts on the future
So, what does everyone think about the future of quidditch? Mel Piper, President of QuidditchUK, comments:
“It’s safe to say that quidditch as a whole had its ups and downs within 2018, but that issues internationally shouldn’t overshadow the great successes both in the UK, and in other nations and organisations (such as Ruhr Phoenix) that are really pushing the sport forward in being legitimised.
“It is integral to ride the wave of these successes and use these as a basis to keep gaining positive media and promotion in the future and ultimately allowing our sport to flourish”
Jack Lennard, Director of the Quidditch Premier League, would agree with Mel:
“Another exciting year of quidditch in the media! It’s important to reflect on what worked and what didn’t, which is why these reviews are so important.
“It’s good to see us develop a strong relationship with local media, I think that’ll really form the backbone of the next year or so – I look forward to revisiting this in twelve months’ time to see how we did!”
I agree with Jack, and I am keen to see how we can use local media. The future looks good – it is a case of consistency for many years more.