Social media fuels PBR Australia

Highlights

  • Troy Dunn credits Facebook and Twitter accounts with helping to cultivate a growing fan base for PBR Australia.
  • According to Dunn, live attendance and merchandise sales are continuing to grow in Australia.
  • Dunn twice won the World Finals event – 1995 and 1997 – and won the world title in 1998.
  • The Troy Dunn Invitational takes place this weekend in Townsville, Australia. It is the second of three consecutive Australian Cup Series events with three more scheduled for July of 2013.

In This Article

To know Troy Dunn is to know one of the greatest professional bull riders in the rider-rich history of the PBR.

Over the years, the stories have become legendary.

Dunn would board a plane at home in Australia, fly halfway around the world to the United States and despite being jetlagged, according to nine-time World Champion Ty Murray, "Troy would kick our (butts)," before getting on another plane and flying right back home.

He won the World Finals event in 1995 and again in 1997, and was the World Champion in 1998 before retiring from the sport in 2005 - the year before he and his wife Jackie became the driving force behind the formation of PBR Australia in 2006.

He is and always has been something of a no-nonsense kind of guy.

So it not surprising that Dunn doesn't have a personal Facebook page, nor does he Tweet, but the 45-year-old from Queensland, Australia, knows enough about both to understand that social media is likely responsible for a recent boom in the PBR's popularity down under.

"Social media has played a big part in the growth of the live numbers, and the fact that we sell a whole lot more merchandise at events."

"For me - I don't look at stats and that type of thing - but social media has played a big part in the growth of the live numbers," Dunn said, "and the fact that we sell a whole lot more merchandise at the events."

PBR Australia is well represented on Twitter and Facebook. In addition to the organization's accounts, which are overseen by Jackie Dunn, the Australian contingency of riders and contractors are active, as well, and so too is the core of the Aussie fan base.

"I talked to Brendon (Clark) about it the other day because he's big into all that sort of thing," Dunn said. "He was telling us how important it is.

"I think he's been a bit of a visionary here really. He's shown the PBR how important it is and, I think, they're only just really catching onto it themselves. He was the first one to get on Twitter and start doing it."

In comparing the present to its formation six years ago, Dunn said the growth is evident.

He noted there are more Touring Pro Division events than any of the previous seasons, mentioned there was a time when they had only one or two Australian Cup Series event, and are now at a point where they have six, including this weekend's Troy Dunn Invitational in Townsville.

Crowd numbers are up from years past.

"We have to keep doing what we're doing," he said. "Our live events are great. More TV content is going to drive the corporate dollar, so we need to keep building on that."

Although the Australian marketplace is congested, Dunn said the key lies in television.

TV content in Australia now reaches beyond the BFTS being rebroadcast and includes two documentary-style programs.

Dunn would love to host a second World Cup event.

The first World Cup event along the Gold Coast, in 2007, was the catalyst to launching PBR Australia and, according to Dunn, "We created fans from there."

"The content was unbelievable," he said of the international event that featured the top riders from around the world. "It was the biggest and best event that we've ever had."

It's growing market, but like other countries - U.S., Brazil and Canada - bull riding is still a niche market in Australia. According to Dunn, they have all the components - riders, bullfighters, bulls, arena crew, production team and announcers - to continuing growing.

Of course, they also continue to be more socially active.

When asked if he was going to starting Tweeting anytime soon, Dunn replied, "I don't know a (darn) thing about all that."

Follow Keith Ryan Cartwright on Twitter @PBR_KRC.

© 2014 PBR Inc. All rights reserved.

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