Tag Archives: World Cup

FIFA’s Global Stadium opens for #WorldCup fans to #Joinin biggest conversation in history

FIFA has revealed details of its Global Stadium, a social, online and mobile hub for the FIFA World Cup, which will help billions of football fans share their excitement and stay in touch with all the action.

The Global Stadium doors will open for each of the 64 matches of the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ so that fans can follow the action live, minute-by-minute, and engage with friends, players, coaches and fellow fans across the globe while supporting their favourite teams at the tournament. Fans can also exclusively win the actual kick-off ball from the match and vote for the Man of the Match.

FIFA.com has been redesigned in the run-up to the tournament with the social football fan in mind and this is complemented by a strong presence on social media. In April 2014 alone, FIFA’s Facebook pages reached over 280 million users, the World Cup page currently has more than 18 million fans, and there are over seven million FIFA followers on Twitter, who frequently retweet and engage in conversation across the six language accounts. TheFIFA.com site is optimised for mobile, and the official World Cup app will launch in early June.

Consumption habits are changing and the “second screen” has transformed the traditional TV viewing experience with consumers using smartphones and tablets to engage more, particularly with sports content.

Walter De Gregorio, FIFA Director of Communications & Public Affairs, commented:

“We aim to provide an all-round digital companion so that billions of fans can join in and share their excitement. Only the World Cup and digital can create this worldwide conversation.”

FIFA will be using the following hashtags: #WorldCup and #Joinin while each match will have its own hashtag.

The accompanying Global Stadium infographic gives some top tips on how to make the most of the World Cup hub.




The Special One signs with Yahoo and starts blogging on Tumblr

Yesterday it was announced that Chelsea boss José Mourinho had signed up to be Yahoo’s ‘Global Football Ambassador’ for 2014.  The announcement itself was only moderately interesting…. until digging a bit deeper into it.

In a clever move by Yahoo, as they look to steal back some of the audience that have moved onto other sites/platforms during the last few years., they have brought The Special One into the fans space.

By launching a new Tumblr blog for José it means that he will be giving his insights about the Premier League and World Cup on a platform that is very relevant to a huge number of people.

Suddenly it turns from a normal commercial deal into one that has an interesting twist to it.  In his first post he says

“The reason I have chosen to partner with Yahoo is simple.  I want to connect with millions of football fans around the globe, and teaming up with Yahoo as well as Tumblr lets me reach a huge audience from Brazil to the US to the UK – whether they are in front of their computers or on their smartphones or tablets. I only associate with the best, and this is both an exciting and prestigious opportunity.”

Hopefully his analysis on the blogging platform will be as entertaining as some of his press conferences!  We can only hope that he isn’t overly edited and that he brings his personality to Tumblr.

It’s a good move from Yahoo and one that could see their image start to shift in the minds of football fans.  They tried over the last couple of years with Premier League digital rights, something they did very little with and were more than happy to give up.  


It could also see a new wave of sign ups for Tumblr as they compete with the other big platforms for attention during this massive year for sport.  After working on the initial launch of the adidas football Tumblr account ahead of the European Championships I know that there is a big audience for football content on the platform.  Yahoo are now looking to tap into this.

As with all blogs, the regularity and quality of the content will be the making or breaking of it.  Aside from his opening post about the announcement, he also chats to a reporter about his thoughts on the World Cup in an interesting short video.  So far so good.

You can catch his new blog at http://mourinhoforyahoo.tumblr.com




adidas kick start the battle of the brands ahead of FIFA World Cup draw

It’s the biggest, most anticipated day ahead of the actual World Cup kick-off.  Today is the World Cup draw when players, managers and fans get to find out who their nation will be playing against next year.

At the start of the week Nike launched their new video “Dare to be Brasilian“, celebrating the Brazil team.  The biggest asset they have in the World Cup, team wise at least.

2 days ago adidas showed us what they have been carefully working on for the past couple of years.  The brands sponsorship centres mainly around the sponsorship of the official FIFA World Cup match ball.  This tied in with their numerous teams (Germany, Spain, etc) and players gives them the tools which they can utilise in different ways.

So 2 days ago they launched a brand new Twitter account, @Brazuca.  This, as you may have heard, is the name of the official ball.  Yes, they have launched a Twitter account for the official match ball with updates from the balls point of view.  Certainly a different tact but one we have seen done on a much more informal/parody basis.  But on an official basis it must be one of the first.

Now, with the draw only a matter of minutes away (or more likely, has taken place by the time you read this – please give England a decent draw, we need it!), they have also launched a bespoke interactive 360 degree YouTube spot.  You can see the video unfold and at certain points see how it looks from the balls perspective.  Again, it’s all about being the ball.

It includes the great players you would expect including Xavi and Bastian Schweinsteiger.  It’s an interesting video that’s certainly all about the interactivity and hidden content.  You can check it out by visiting http://www.youtube.com/user/adidasfootballtv.

adidas football youtube

As you can see it’s already been viewed over 600,000 times and gives you a multitude of options within it.  At the bottom you can see the timeline which lets you know when interactive moments are embedded within it.  You can also see whereabouts on the pitch the ball is by clicking on the pitch in the top left plus change the language you want to listen to it in.

This is just the start of what is going to be a massive battle between the two old enemies at the most social, interactive and shareable World Cup there has ever been.  We haven’t been able to get any more details/comment from adidas or their social media agency We Are Social yet but will update this article once we do.


FIFA launches new mobile app and predicts 70m downloads

Football’s world governing body FIFA have not been noted for their digital excellence in the past but seem to be waking up to the possibilities as the first ‘social world cup’ approaches.  Four years is a long time in technology terms so the changes that have taken place since the last tournament in South Africa have been immense.

We’ll go into more detail about how teams and players will be using social media in the lead up to and during the event in articles next year.  But for now the concentration is on the draw in Rio this Friday.

Every new project needs a focal point to give it that initial boost and its the perfect event for FIFA to generate coverage of their new app.  One that includes a live draw feature that means you can follow the teams being pulled out as it happens, see what that means in terms of the overall match schedule.  There will also be team profiles and venue information available too.  In a nice move there is sponsor integration, most notably linking adidas to the live draw.

It’s a seemingly massive app, one that no doubt has been in the planning, building and testing phase for a long time.  As well as the World Cup, FIFA are looking to take a slice of the domestic league market.  By taking your current location they can feed you info on your home league through the ‘World Match Centre’, giving latest scores, fixtures and standings.

It covers over 200 leagues and competitions from around the world, an enormous undertaking by anyones standards.  To help sift through the mass of data you can add up to 3 favourite teams with a mix of national and club sides.  Thus getting only the match information that is relevant to you.

There is other sections for you to explore including

  • FIFA Explore
  • Videos
  • News
  • Photos
  • FIFA/Coca Cola World Rankings
  • Integration with Facebook, Twitter and FIFA.com Club

The app, available in English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish, is free to download and available for iPhone, iPad and Android smartphones and tablets.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter:

“Our mission is not only to develop the game, but to touch the world and build a better future. With the official FIFA app, we are using mobile technology – the most personal technology ever known – to unite and inspire fans, ensuring they never miss a moment of the beautiful game.”

The official FIFA app will evolve over the coming months to provide an even better digital platform to unite the hundreds of millions of fans for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil.

It feels very slick and easy to use, bringing all the latest scores and World Cup news you can want in one place.  Time will tell how much I will use it but for Friday and being someone with no Sky Sports it could certainly be an asset.  With a website that attracts over 7bn page visits during tournament time, their prediction of 70m app downloads may not be that outlandish after all.

What do you think of it?






Brazil: Social Media Capital Of The Universe

Guest Post:  Aaron Syed Jaffery (@aaronjaffery) is Managing Partner of global digital sport consultancyNineteenEightyFour.

Brazil is the most important social media market of the TIMBI series, recently named the social media capital of the universe by the Wall Street Journal, and now well and truly in the spotlight thanks to the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Olympic games.

A country of 199million people, 65million Facebook users and 33.3million Twitter users, Brazil is second only to the United States in terms of population size and social media market. Brazil is leading the world in terms of social media growth, owed to its dramatically expanding middle class population.

A 2013 comScore report found that social networking sites are the top online destination for Brazil’s internet users. 79% of Brazil’s internet users are on social networks, whilst internet penetration stands at just 50% and smartphone penetration a mere 23%, suggesting there are plenty more social media users to come.

Until very recently the biggest social network in Brazil was Google’s “Orkut”, but Facebook’s more communication focussed platform has let it steal the top spot. Facebook’s vice president of Latin America said in a Wall Street Journal interview, “Brazilians are inherently social people, it’s common for a stranger to start a conversation with you on the street, and that’s why social networks have, and are continuing to doing so well in Brazil.”


Sweet Tooth

Brazil’s got a taste for sweet things! Energy drink Guarana Antartica, global soft-drink giant Coca-Cola, and chocolate company Garto, dominate the top overall and brand Facebook pages. And granted it’s on the sour side, but Brazilian lager Skol also mingles in the top pages.

Guarana Antartica is a 2014 FIFA World Cup sponsor, Brazil’s second most popular soft drink, and 15th bestselling soft drink in the world. Number one brand, and overall number two page on Facebook, Guarana Antartica utilises Facebook exceptionally well. Themes of camaraderie and friendship are driven through rich Facebook content, echoing the values Brazil holds strong.  Current Facebook apps reflect Brazil’s push to make the World Cup as green as possible, with one giving fans the chance to win a bike from a Guarana Antartica can, and another informing the user of the drinks recyclable properties.

One of Guarana Antartica’s most notable social media campaigns was the Facebook powered carnival car. Facebook fans were given the chance to win a seat in a car that went to a V.I.P carnival, where they could party alongside famous Brazilian celebrities including Neymar. The winners needed 220,000 interactions on the accompanying Facebook app to power the car, with likes and comments translating directly into metres travelled. The campaign was hugely successful, and led to a lot of young Brazilian Facebook users getting on board with Guarana Antartica.

Coca-Cola also had a Facebook hit with their “happiness refill campaign” targeting teenage users. The “happiness refill machine” appeared to be a regular looking drinks machine, but instead of using a cup, the person’s phone was pressed against the tap to receive data credits. The data credits could then be used on an exclusive Coca-Cola mobile internet browser. In a country with virtually no free Wi-Fi it was a genius idea from Coca-Cola.

Brazil is one of Coca-Cola’s largest operations, and is sponsoring both the World Cup and 2016 Olympic games. And, it has already released a Coco-Cola World Cup song and Trophy Tour, as part of its intense sponsorship activation campaign to become the “icon of happiness” at the World Cup.

World Class Footballers

Brazil has churned out an unholy amount of football talent and the top Facebook and Twitter Stats reflect this.

Neymar, FC Barcelona‘s Brazilian striker, has been SportPro’s most marketable athlete for two consecutive years. And he is also the most liked Facebook sports page, second most followed Twitter sports page and fourth most followed page overall on Twitter. Neymar’s idol and AC Milan midfielder Kaka, beats him to the top overall Twitter profile and top sports profile, but loses out on Facebook, placing four ranks below Neymar.

Other players also enjoying the top Twitter and Facebook sports pages are: retired Brazilian footballer Ronaldo, nicknamed the “phenomenon”; one of the best footballers of our generation Ronaldinho; FC Barcelona player Anderson Silva; and despite being mentioned last, social media superhero Cristiano Ronaldo.

However, FIFA’s Official 2014 World Cup Facebook profile still has a long way to go in terms of fans. At under 1.5million total fans, it will take a concerted effort to get the page amongst the 25-40million local fan mark in Brazil’s top sports pages.


Unlike the previous emerging markets studied, Brazil features a charity and novelist in its top Twitter pages.

“Greenpeace Brasil” is Greenpeace’s largest Twitter account and second largest brand on Twitter of Brazilian origin. Their efforts to save the Brazilian rainforests have struck a chord with the Brazilian population. And, Greenpeace’s marketing director attributes its success to endeavouring to reply to everybody who tweets them, interacting and mobilising the Twitter community, instead of simply broadcasting.

Acclaimed novelist Paulo Coelho, author of ‘The Alchemist’ (one of the bestselling novels of all time) is the third most followed Twitter account of Brazilian origin. Interestingly, he also holds the Guinness World Record for being the living author of a book translated into the most number of languages.

…Not so unique

However, bringing Brazil back into more generic territory are TV presenter, Luciano Huck and TV programme, Panico.

There are said to be two loves in Brazil: Football and TV shows. And whilst this may be true in real life, Brazil’s social media figures tell a more football infatuated story. Home to arguably some of the greatest footballers of all time, this come as no surprise. There is however, little 2014 FIFA World Cup social media presence in the top pages, but it may still be a little early. Drink companies lead the social media way with a number of very creative, market suited, engaging campaigns. And, more unusual Twitter stars are found in Greenpeace and acclaimed Brazilian novelist, Paula Coelho.

FIFA to Launch new Facebook Pages

Now that the big summer football event of 2013 has passed, the FIFA Confederations Cup, attention has turned to the BIG one.  I’m of course referring to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, the second time that the country will have hosted the competition – the last time being way back in 1950.

Next Monday (12th August), FIFA will be launching not one but three new Facebook pages as their push onto the platform accelerates.  Up until now it has been around competitions only, the latest being the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 page.  This launch will cover not only the World Cup but also other FIFA activities as they look to engage with fans in a deeper way.

The new pages will be;

  1. FIFA World Cup Brazil – as you would expect, will cover all things leading up to and including next years World Cup.
  2. FIFA World Cup – charting the history of the competition from 1930 to 2010, accessing some of the huge reams of archive material the federation has.
  3. FIFA – will focus on the range of projects FIFA is involved in; from Football Development and Corporate Social Responsibility projects FIFA is involved in, to updates on FIFA’s fight against doping and match manipulation.  And bringing all the behind-the-scenes images, and hopefully some Q&A’s, from the Ballon D’Or in January.

Ahead of the launch, FIFA is giving fans the opportunity to vote on what photo should be the first one to appear on the FIFA World Cup page as the cover image.  There is no prize at the end of it but it is a nice way to get the fans involved from the start.

FIFA World Cup Facebook

The vote has proved to be popular so far, boosted by tweets from the 6 FIFA Twitter accounts to promote it beyond the 76k fans the Facebook page has.  They’re not only taking the Facebook likes into consideration but also the RT’s and favourite’s each photo gains on Twitter.  So far the leading entry, thanks to a rush from Japanese fans, is of Keisuke Honda scoring the penalty that saw them qualify for next year’s World Cup.

Keisuke Honda Japan World Cup

Voting is set to close at 18:00 CET on Friday 9th August so get your votes in now over at the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 page.  We look forward to seeing how well the three pages take off and the types of content we will see on them, it’s an important time for the federation as preparations are really ramped up.  With the protests at the Confederations Cup it is likely to be a big test as to how they handle any attacks on the pages as well as the PR fall-out any more will have.

UKSN will be talking to FIFA in more detail about their Social Media plans for the 2014 FIFA World Cup later this year.

Vauxhall and FAW to Host Social Media First

Vauxhall and the Football Association of Wales will score a social networking first with a live Twitter takeover event next week with Head Coach Chris Coleman.

The newly appointed Wales Head Coach has agreed to become the first Home Nations Manager to answer questions from fans live via Vauxhall’s dedicated Wales football Twitter page.

This live Twitter takeover forms part of a series of player and coach live feeds over recent and coming months.

Simon Culley, Vauxhall’s Football Sponsorship Marketing Manager said; “We’re very grateful to Chris and the FAW for facilitating this activation. It is a ground breaking opportunity for us to host a live interaction between Welsh football fans and their head coach.

“We have made a significant investment in our digital football platforms and the response to our activity has been very positive from the fans.

“As sponsor of all four Home Nations we are in a very unique position and throughout the campaign we have worked hard to give fans a behind the scenes view of International football.”

Ian Davis, FAW Commercial Manager, commented; “This is a major coup for the FAW and Vauxhall and we are delighted to be able to make it happen.

“As an association we are always looking to innovate and offering the fans a chance to interact with the Head Coach via Social Media is an exciting opportunity for everyone involved.”

The Twitter takeover will take place at the FAW Headquarters at 11am on Thursday 19th of April, the same day that a group of Welsh football fans get the chance to play in Vauxhall’s Big Pitch game at the Millennium Stadium.

Vauxhall launched their football social media platforms in October 2011 and currently have close to forty thousand followers across all four Home Nations.

Follow @Vauxhall_Wales on twitter at https://twitter.com/vauxhall_wales

Become a fan of Vauxhall Wales on Facebook at www.facebook.com/vauxhallwales

For more information on Vauxhall Football go to www.vauxhallfootball.co.uk

The 2018 World Cup Digital Battle Pt.4:The England Bid

Part 4 of a 4 part series

The England bid

After focusing on the Iberian, Holland Belgium and Russian bids we now complete the series by looking at the England bid and what it does digitally.

England, which last hosted a major football tournament in 1996 (and previously hosted the World Cup in 1966),  has a highly interactive bid site and has a large volume of supporters and followers. For these reasons we would argue that it is the best bid site we have looked at.

The official site has much of what we have seen elsewhere. It has comprehensive content, latest news and videos and again the countdown clock. The top banner also rotates in colour.

However, the England bid site differentiates itself from the others we have seen by the way it knows its audience (the global football fan) and allows the reader to get involved – and in so many ways.  Much of the interactivity is also featured on the home page so no need to click elsewhere. The site can be translated into 12 languages which is a good touch given that the World Cup is a massive global tournament. One of the slogans of the bid is ‘England United The World Invited’.

The reader is encouraged to back the bid by clicking in the top left part of the home page. So far a staggering 2.2 million people have done this (even some Scottish fans!). On clicking you are directed to another screen where you can register your details and leave a message of support. Such messages are constantly streamed onto the home page.

England United The World Invited

The site also points you to an interactive section which details English Football’s Global Impact. This section plays a video and features an interactive map which ‘highlights some of the work undertaken by the English FA, Premier League, clubs, government agencies and other partners over the last decade’.

The site also has a photo album of many supporters and ambassadors of the bid (in the Our Supporters section), including Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, and Simon Cowell of X Factor fame.

This site, like the others, also has a downloads section. The array of downloads offered to the reader is impressive. The site states that it has ‘created a whole host of ways for you to ‘Back the Bid’, show your support and interact ’. By offering everything from iphone applications to twitter backgrounds and screensavers the bid site has probably achieved that aim.

The site also makes good use of social media and earlier this week England 2018 launched the second phase of its digital campaign, created by Engine’s Jam. Football fans on Facebook are being targeting through a peer-to-peer recruitment drive. This facebook campaign has attracted over 300,000 from 170 countries (the largest number we have seen by any European bid. The facebook page is consistent with the website by offering photos, videos, supporter apps and further ways to follow the bid.

The England bid, like the others, can also be followed on YouTube (where there are 300+ subscribers), flickr and twitter. The homepage also has a News RSS feed and there is also a button to grab an app for your browser. The official twitter page provides regular updates – official and otherwise – and there appears to be a lot of interaction with twitter users. There have been over 600 tweets so far and there are presently 6,401 followers. In a great touch, the homepage has a live stream of the latest tweet.

This concludes our series. We would love to hear your thoughts and comments on the 4 bids. In the days leading up to the announcement of the successful bid next Thursday, December 2nd, we shall invite you to take part in a poll to vote for the best 2018 bid in digital terms.

The 2018 World Cup Digital Battle Pt.3: The Russian bid

Part 3 of a 4 part series

The Russian bid

We’ve previously focused on the Iberian and the Holland Belgium bids. For the 3rd part of this series we now look at the Russian bid and what it is focusing on digitally.

The theme of the bid is ‘Ready to Inspire’. The official website features this slogan big and bold using Arsenal star Arshavin as the backdrop. Given the low numbers of followers in social media (only 50 on facebook) it would appear that the website has failed to inspire fans. The lack of interactivity with the reader may be a cause of this. The only way I found to interact with the site was to download 3 bid wallpapers.

The site  is, however, comprehensive in terms of content . The reader is greeted with a side panel which provides plenty of information on the bid, its vision, news and events, a photo gallery and a downloads section. While the website of the Iberian bid features an array of official and illustrious ambassadors, such as 2010 World Cup winners, the Russian bid calls on important supporters such as the Mayor of Moscow. President Putin has also backed the bid. The site disappointingly does not have an innovative campaign encouraging participation and engagement such as the Join The Wave idea which we saw last week with the Holland Belgium bid.

The website allows the reader to watch a video on the proposed stadiums for the tournament and read both a bid highlights brochure and a stadium overview brochure. Like the Iberian bid, the website also has a countdown clock to FIFA decision day on December 2nd.

In terms of social media the site encourages you to spread the word through email, facebook, twitter and MySpace. This is the first time that we’ve seen MySpace in use in this series and it may prove to be a clever tactic by the Russian bid given that over 125 million people use this large social network. On twitter the reader is only allowed to tweet a message which spreads the message ‘Ready to Inspire! – Bidding Nation Russia’ driving traffic back to the official website. Twitter is not used as a communication tool like the other two bids we have seen so far.

The Russian bid can be followed on facebook, flickr and YouTube. On facebook as mentioned previously the bid has a mere 50 followers. The photo collections on flickr mainly focus on official presentations, media meetings and officials in suits. For my money the photos are lacking in the fun and enjoyment that we’ve seen in the previous two bids but you do get to see Chelsea FC owner Roman Ambramovich lending his support. The official YouTube Bidding Nation Russia channel features 9 videos and has just 21 subscribers. The latest video on the bid stadiums has had 10,524 views, which is only a third of the number watching the Holland Belgium bid channel.

Later this week on Thursday we wrap up this 4 part series on ‘The digital battle behind the bidding for the 2018 Football World Cup’ by focusing on a bid far closer to home – the England bid.

The 2018 World Cup Digital Battle Pt. 2: The Belgium and Holland Bid

Part 2 of a 4 part series

The Holland / Belgium bid

For part 2 of our 4 part series we turn our attention to the digital efforts behind the Holland / Belgium bid. Our Northern European neighbours have the legendary Ruud Gullit, European Championship winner in 1988, as President of their bid. The former Chelsea and AC Milan star has been highly active in supporting the bid and earlier this week he even took to cycling the streets of Paris to do so.

The Holland Belgium bid utilises more social media than the Iberian bid we examined last week and has more followers. The official website is full of informative content and, with features on great goals, a fanzone, a bidbook and a bid monthly magazine, there is more than enough to keep the casual reader or avid fan interested.

The site encourages participation. One unique and interesting way it does this is through the ‘Join the Wave’ campaign. Fans of the two national teams are encouraged to ‘create a virtual wave with the most colourful supporters in international football by uploading their videos to the site.’ At the time of writing, there are 41,776 ‘hands in the air’. This idea is particularly attractive to fans as it focuses on fun and sharing and enables them to share their own personal wave across multiple social media platforms – facebook, Hyves, twitter, Netlog and email.

Put your hands in the air for the Holland Belgium bid

The website also explains how this bid is aiming to be environmentally friendly with its goals of sustainable stadiums and a green World Cup.

Like the Iberian bid website, there is also a comprehensive multimedia zone where photographs are shared on flickr and bid on tour videos can be uploaded onto an official Holland Belgium bid YouTube channel (with over 30,000 upload views) .

As you would expect there is an official facebook page and the bid has its own twitter page, which posts regular news updates on press conferences and presentations (with 635 followers).

The website has links to both Hyves, which is the most popular social network in the Netherlands, and Netlog, which is a Belgian social network site. This is definitely a case of the bid knowing its audience and going where its fans and eyeballs are. This is consistent with some of the ideas we have been advocating here the theuksportsnetwork for some time. On Hyves there are over 1,000 members sharing photos, videos and generating general buzz behind the bid. Netlog is somewhat smaller but still plays an important role with over 100 members again sharing content such as blogs, videos and photos.Neither nation has lifted the FIFA World Cup, but both have had their moments. Holland has reached the final three times – mostrecently earlier this year in South Africa. We will have to wait until December 2nd to know whether the bid will be successful.

For the next post in the series out next Monday we head East to take a look at the Russian bid’s use of digital media.