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World Cup 2010: What will the social media age bring to the World Cup experience?

June 8th, 2010 by matt No Responses

world cupWith kick-off for the Group A match between South Africa and Mexico just hours away, I couldn’t help but cast my mind back to four years ago and ask myself how different the World Cup experience will be since the social media explosion of Facebook and Twitter et al.  So how will we engage with the World Cup experience in the online context?

The ‘Watching’ Experience

Although we’ve had live online streaming and a degree of interactivity via digital television for a while now, ITV and the BBC (who are both sharing broadcast of World Cup games) have each promised an online viewing experience set to break new ground.

ITV are launching ITV Live, a new service intended to go beyond just live streaming and video highlights of games.  The service is being billed as an online companion to the finals, with dual screen real time stats and chat, as well as in-game voting.  The website will also be home to blogs from the pundits as well as an ongoing updates from a number of fans soaking up the action direct from South Africa.

In addition to the Radio and TV offerings from the BBC, viewers will be able to stream BBC matches live on the website and will be able to catch up on anything they’ve missed on the iPlayer.  Again, the BBC has a number of bloggers eager to discuss daily issues, including John Motson who will be filing reports to the site every day in his own inimitable style.  Motty can also be followed on Twitter here.

The ‘Sharing’ Experience

Alongside Motty, Twitter is set to be a place for fans and viewers to share their opinions on every on-the-pitch and off-the-pitch aspect of the event (dominant hashtags include: #wc2010, #mundial and #sudafrica2010).  Fifa, themselves are doing well to see the benefit of getting involved with their own twitter stream, while a number of newspapers have launched their own World Cup 2010 streams to make sure we all keep updated (see below).

Curiously, a link to the official Twitter stream is surprisingly difficult to find at FIFA.com – and the same can be said for the official Fifa World Cup Sudafrica 2010 Facebook group.  However, once you do find it, it’s good to see that Fifa are making the most of this channel too, earning themselves more than 60,000 fans who are getting involved with the content even before the event has begun.

YouTube is likely to be a place where fans will post up videos of goals and other moments during the course of World Cup 2010, and you’d expect Fifa to be well ahead of the game by directing viewers to their own official channel.  The closest you get, however, is the Coca Cola channel which features no football content aside from a promo for their latest competition.  On the positive side, the competition does invite fans to submit their own content in order for the chance to win game tickets.

However, in the build-up to the finals, YouTube is arguably best being utilized by a large number of musicians eager to make it big with their World Cup songs this year.  Be sure to check out videos from Harpers Heroes, iKid and Shuttleworth to get into the spirit of things(!)

The ‘Extra Stats’ Experience

Stat-finding during World Cup 2010 is sure to be an even more pleasurable and online-centric experience than it has been in the past.  Infographics such as the Match Planner at Marca.com and the RIA Novosti Jabulani diagram are just the tip of the iceberg.  The former is a calendar and match-planner which makes me wonder how we ever survived with the humble wall-chart of yesteryear, while the latter is a fantastic exploded diagram of the official world cup football – the Jabulani.

Expectedly, newspapers with their fingers on the online pulse such as The Guardian and The Telegraph will be making the most of their content when it comes to online, each with their own dedicated World Cup 2010 sub-areas.  Social media will be a major player for both of the above, but The Guardian’s own unique Fans’ Network and The Telegraph’s special World Cup iPhone app are just some examples of how the two are going even farther to keep the stat-hounds happy.

The ‘Business’ Experience

Businesses are getting in on the online action too.  Aside from Coca Cola’s YouTube orientated competition, their Trophy Tour page shows the amazing journey the trophy has made across South Africa and the World.  The Cup’s other major sponsor, McDonalds, has decided to launch its own online Fantasy Football game, whilst a number of awesome virals have hit the web from other companies such as Nokia (check out their awesome Table Football ad) and Nike.

Let us know of any more awesome World Cup 2010 social media stuff in the comments below!

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