We’re going to be honest: Like most of the country (and probably the world), we here at VideoInk have Olympics fever. And as the great producer Bruce Dickinson (who we imagine is also a mighty patriot) would say, the only prescription is more Olympics content.
Thankfully, NBC, which owns the rights to the Olympics, is doing a remarkable job with the breadth of coverage its producing from Sochi. As long as you’re an authenticated subscriber, you can watch all sorts of live and on-demand Olympics content across multiple screens.
But sometimes, that’s not enough. Sometimes you’re watching all this great skiing, snowboarding, hockey, and curling (!!) action on your TV, and you just need more, even if it’s not coming directly from NBC and its crew at the Winter Olympics.
Here, as always, is when YouTube comes in.
Just like with every other topic or interest you can think of, there is some great winter sports content on YouTube. And a lot of it is quite thrilling.
“Winter sports as a content platform has such strong associations with a high octane and fast-paced style that for creators to stand out they need to offer more than just a repackaged ski bar video,” says Will Phipps, VP/group director, connections strategy, DigitasLBi.
Again, this is where YouTube comes in. One of the big rules of the video platform is to not only be entertaining, but to also be engaging. Channels devoted to thrilling content have to take this to heart. “Unique to the digital medium is the power of endorsed and shared viewing,” says Phipps, “so as always with content we ask three key questions: What’s the value for the viewer, why should they pause to engage, and then why might they share to others? Connect all of these together and you have a creator at the top of their game.”
With that in mind, and with the help of DigitasLBi and Outrigger Media’s OpenSlate platform, here are the top five emerging winter sports channels on YouTube. Whether you’re just interested in watching some exciting snowboarding clips, or are a brand that wants to tap into the heavy appetite for Olympics and related content, these are some of the channels you should watching.
- SlateScore: 342
- Subs: 8,071
- Monthly Views: 148,590
Surprised? You shouldn’t be. Obviously the Sochi Organizing Committe’s channel for the Sochi Olympics would be one of the hottest ones on YouTube right now. NBC and its platforms might be the place to watch all of the games and events, but the Sochi2014 channel is where you can watch the other stuff — straight from those who are helping make it possible.
- SlateScore: 346
- Subs: 3,673
- Monthly Views: 488,460
Not to be confused with the USA Network, which as a property of NBCUniversal is airing Olympics coverage, USSANetwork is the official channel of the US Ski & Snowboard Association. Which means, if you want to see some amazing videos featuring the likes of Lindsey Vonn, Shaun White, Bode Miller, and Louie Vito — some of whom have been training for these very games — this channel is where you go.
Aside from competition highlights and athlete interviews, USSANetwork also offers original series like “Sochi Studio” and “Snow Globe” to provide a deeper look at the US skiers and snowboarders competing in the Winter Games.
- SlateScore: 373
- Subs: 13,077
- Monthly Views: 26,550
Look, we get it. Sometimes you just want to watch talented people doing what they do best. In fact, we’re willing to bet that’s why the sport of freeskiing, which focuses on tricks and jumps and all sorts of aerial stunts, was invented. So if that’s what you’re looking for, this is the channel for you. Freeskiing is absolutely breathtaking. Spend a few minutes (or hours) on this channel, and you will see why.
An interesting thing to note: There are several brands already advertising on this channel, including, unsurprisingly, Red Bull.
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- SlateScore: 463
- Subs: 38,574
- Monthly Views: 625,260
What’s that? Skiing, even when it involves cool aerial tricks, isn’t your thing? You’re more of a snowboarding kind of gal? Well fine, then, this list has something for you, too. Transworld Snowboarding magazine’s official YouTube channel, TWSnowFilms, has everything a snowboarding enthusiast should want and need. Original programming devoted to snowboarding, its athletes, and various competitions? Yep. Tutorials on how to snowboard and perform various tricks? You bet.
Some of the best content on YouTube is created by those who are truly passionate about something. It shouldn’t knock your boots off that Transworld Magazine’s channel sits on this list, especially when it already scores 7.2/10 in terms of engagement and 7.9/10 in influence.
- SlateScore: 516
- Subs: 9,167
- Monthly Views: 659,820
Objectively speaking, hockey is the greatest sport ever invented. Sure football is entertaining, baseball is America’s pastime, basketball can get you up on your feet in an instant, and soccer causes people to murder others. But hockey is responsible for the greatest sporting moment in US history. Yes, we’re referring to Lake Placid, 1980, and those damned Russians. This time around, our men’s hockey team is going into Russia to reclaim what is rightfully ours, the gold medal.
If you want an idea of where the US men’s international hockey program is, and how it stacks up to other programs around the world, then the International Ice Hockey Federation’s YouTube channel has all the goods. If you want to know how valuable this channel is becoming to hockey-lovers seeking out content on YouTube, the channel already scores a whopping 8.6/10 in terms of influence.
Emerging channels data comes from the Emerging Tracker Tool from OpenSlate, a YouTube analytics platform created by Outrigger Media. Data for the top emerging winter sports channels is as of February 5, 2014.