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2024-2032 IWF Strategic Plan, Pillar 4: Reaching beyond the IWF

After looking at ways of enhancing the three pillars that are at the core of the IWF activities – its Athletes, its Events, and its own Administration –, the fourth pillar of the 2024-2032 IWF Strategic Plan focuses on seizing the best opportunities around the IWF structure so that they can be properly promoted. As stated in the Plan, “doing things well is not enough. The world must know and value them. That is why the external environment is almost as important as the IWF itself. Communication campaigns must tell our audiences the stories of our athletes and successful events, by all possible means and platforms. This will definitively enhance the IWF brand, leading to more commercial and broadcasting opportunities, in a market that is quite competitive. Weightlifting fans also deserve to be part of the IWF family and spread the message further”.


This important aspect includes five sub-pillars in the IWF Strategic Plan, all equally important: Marketing and sponsoring, Communication and promotion, Broadcast Rights and production, Exploring Digital possibilities, and Fan engagement.


Identified as a weakness in the present status of the IWF development, the need for additional effort in the areas of marketing and sponsoring is deemed essential. As an important opportunity to generate more income, a marketing strategy is necessary: after consolidating and reinforcing its brand, our International Federation will be able to attract new partners, interested in associating their image with a successful and respected Sport. For that, sponsorship categories must be created and sold, marketing programmes must be established within the frame of major IWF events, and long-term commercial partnerships must be secured. The creation of a specific Marketing Department within the IWF structure is essential.


Also of paramount importance are the efforts in terms of communication and promotion. The positive messaging coming from our successful competitions must be highlighted, through all possible traditional and digital platforms. Specific campaigns around topics that are capable of mobilising fans and institutional partners (human rights, gender equity, climate change, clean sport…) need to be reinforced. The IWF should also be capable of strengthening long-term relationships with respected media outlets around the world, thus ensuring that our content reaches a wider audience. The celebration of the IWF’s 120th and 125th anniversary, respectively in 2025 and 2030 are two privileged occasions to showcase our past, but most importantly our future action.


One of the means that remains fundamental in the exposure of any Sport is its presence on the TV screens. The IWF is no exception to that rule. Whether on traditional TV or in other digital channels, solid broadcasting agreements remain a strong added-value in this strategy. The enhancement of the TV production at our events and a more efficient distribution of the TV signal worldwide should also be prioritised. A better share of the costs related to these operations between the IWF and hosts of IWF events is to be envisaged.


At the end of the day, the major goal of those concepts is to enhance the fans’ experience related to weightlifting. The IWF should therefore explore all opportunities related to the gaming and esports landscape, so that our Sport can reach new and younger audiences. With the advent of more sophisticated and immersive technology, the sports industry has to introduce new ways of presenting its product.


But at the same time the weightlifting “experience” is accessible with one touch on a mobile phone screen or with a successful post on social media channels, the variety of fans following (and eventually practicing) our Sport must be enlarged. The creation of a “Weightlifting for All” programme or the inclusion of the massive Masters Movement within the IWF structure must follow this global effort on promotion and wider exposure of weightlifting in the five continents.


By IWF Communications


Photos by Giorgio Scala/Deepbluemedia