The Baloise Belgium Tour, a five-day pro cycling Tour, sponsored since 2013 by title sponsor and Belgian insurance company Baloise Insurance, got cancelled due to restrictive COVID-19 measures. In every setback lies an opportunity: Baloise Insurance decided to create a unique virtual alternative, in which the audience took the stage and were able to join the race themselves.
To remain present by keeping the event alive and on the agenda by means of a creative approach, the setup of a so called “digital twin”
– To guarantee continuity and at the same time, supporting cycling and event community
– To close the gap between fans and pro riders with an immersive format
– To promote an active and healthy lifestyle, focusing on current needs
– To stay in touch and (re)connect with their audience
– To deliver a positive message in challenging times
Recreational cyclists could virtually join a team of one of 12 well-known pro riders. With the pros leading the virtual race, the team that managed to cycle the most kilometers together in 5 days, won the first Virtual Baloise Belgium Tour. Data were tracked by Strava or Garmin. All team members could check the live team rankings and were personally motivated by their pro in a daily pre-race video recording by the famous YouTuber Bas Tietema.
Owned media earned 1.6M impressions and over 29K engagements, overtaking the reach of paid media. Our pro riders turned into event ambassadors and created a spontaneous, competitive dialogue, creating even more engagement. This resulted in earned media with a national prime time news bulletin, as more than 3,000 active cyclists completed the event.