Friday, 9 July 2010

Social media comes into its own for the World Cup

Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are flooded with World Cup related content, with key tournament moments sparking global debates, viral jokes and displays of national team support.

Sports fans love talking about sport, as much as they love watching it and the internet is providing the ultimate platform.

From posting pictures of themselves at fanparks and stadiums to giving running match commentary via status updates, never before have so many people engaged with the World Cup through social media.

It seems that companies have capitalised on the World Cup’s online boom with global brands like EA Sports, Coco-Cola and Nike getting in on the action.

EA in partnership with games developer Playfish launched the first Facebook sports game, Facebook Superstars before the World Cup and in the past two weeks, 5.2 million Facebook users have used the application to make game predictions.

Due to the success of Football Superstars EA are planning to launch a Facebook version of NFL game Madden hoping to replicate the World Cup’s online boost during the NFL season and the Super Bowl.

In FIFA’s official World Cup football title, also made by EA, a new online feature allows game players to relive some of this World Cup’s greatest moments.

Executive Producer of the game, Kaz Makita, said: “This is an ambitious and completely unique feature that has never before been attempted for football video games.

“The hopes and dreams of nations will rise and fall throughout the 2010 FIFA World Cup Final and within hours after the real matches have occurred our development team will re-create the storylines in our game and provide fans the opportunity to replay and, perhaps, change the outcome – virtually.”

A Facebook-based fantasy football league game was also launched for the World Cup, including all 736 players from the 32 teams participating in the 2010 World Cup.

The game created by Middle Eastern games company Quirkat allows users to carry out micro-transactions and play against friends.

Soft drink giant Coco-Cola, who astonishingly has almost seven million Facebook “fans”, released a social media-only exclusive viral ad campaign, featuring Cameroon’s Roger Miller and his infamous goal celebration in 1990, which he just happened to do in front of a Coca-Cola billboard.

The ad campaign, called “The History of Celebration”, encourages people to upload their own goal celebrations to YouTube.

Director of worldwide sports and entertainment marketing at Coca-Cola, Emmanuel Seuge says that the digital strategy is all part of the aim to target younger viewers.

Twitter created a special World Cup website “” which gathers “Top Tweets” and gives football fans a unique platform to follow their team’s progress and connect with other fans and follow football stars and coaches via a “suggested accounts” list.

Although, fans of the finalists Holland and Spain are missing out, as the players from those national teams have been banned from Tweeting during the World Cup.

On the opening day of the tournament, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, said: "We've put together a special site to capture the spirit of the World Cup and it's already pulsing with activity."

As well as the special site, Twitter also provided users with World Cup themed profile pages and country flag “hashtags”.

Twitter, which crashed when Brazil were dumped out of the competition by Holland, seems to be the number one place for online football fans to talk about the tournament.

Classic 2010 World Cup moments, such as England midfielder Frank Lampard’s ghost goal, Fabiano’s double handball and Portugal’s drubbing of North Korea all became big trending topics on the site.

However, none of those have been more popular online than the controversial Vuvuzela which became the first ever World Cup trending topic on Twitter.

The vuvuzela is also proving to be a huge hit on YouTube, with hundreds of “How to blow a vuvuzela” videos flooding the site. Applications and games featuring the vuvuzela have also been widely popular. A YouTube video featuring the vuvuzela in arcade game classic, DOOM, managed to get one million hits in only a week.

This World Cup has inspired online users in their millions and with internet access on the increase and the digital legacy of South Africa 2010, who knows what Brazil 2014 will have in store for the social media community?

- Mr Devo

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Blogger alext14 said...

I love the world cup!! Great, someone finally wrote about the biggest sport event in history!!

20 July 2010 at 08:00  

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