The FIFA World Cup Football 2010 has finally come to an end. The victors have taken the trophy home joyfully. Brazil looks forward to hosting the 2014 FIFA World Cup, others bid for the opportunity to host the world cup as far into the future as 2018 and 2022, still others set about building a stadium even if they don’t get to play host in 2022 (!), and some just wonder how, after all the sweat, muscle and determination shown by 11 iconic footballers to win the world cup, an octopus steals the show!
Let’s set aside that uproar for a moment, and consider another phenomenon that took the football world by storm – Social Media. This is the first FIFA World Cup Football to enjoy the benefits, even fame, that come from social media! The previous world cup was held in 2006, when social media was a relatively new wonder that had not caught up. You may have noted how that brings into perspective the fact that social media has become a huge force to reckon with, in the short period of 4 years!
Anticipation was rife very early on, as to how the social media sphere would interpret the football fever! In May of 2010, MeetTheBoss.TV spoke about the many factors involved in the business of football that would ensure that social media activity is at its peak. “Sponsorships are more than ever about ROI rather than awareness, this makes engagement via social media even more vital”, says Ciaran Duffy, Web Editor of MeetTheBoss TV. The post contains an infographic on how social media has helped football clubs increase their popularity. Veronica Maria Jarski, a blogger on MarketingProfs.com spoke excitedly about how social media will redefine the way the game is watched by fans. In a post she wrote on the first day of FIFA 2010, she quotes Twitter employee Robin Sloan as saying, “… The World Cup will eclipse everything we have seen so far on Twitter, including the U.S. election, the Oscars, or the Super Bowl simply because it is so international.” MatadorSports.com predicted that FIFA World Cup 2010 could set new world records in social media!
Were these people right in their predictions? Things started off to a slow start, as all new phenomenons will do. Warming up to social media and using it to further the goodness of the game, may have seemed a distant probability, considering that, in 2009, some British football club managers were skeptical regarding the suitability of letting loose a bunch of ‘passionate’ fans on social media sites. (Stories here and here.) Add to this the fact that many world cup players were banned from using social media in any form during the games, and you can feel the doubt sinking in.
All this changed eventually, in the course of the World Cup, when new records were indeed set, in using social media to share the excitement of FIFA. Niall Harbison of SimplyZesty.com posted an infographic that shows the extent of social media’s success during the World Cup. (original post here). The numbers are amazing! 1.1 million people watched the USA vs Algeria match online! UK internet traffic rose by 1/3rd during England’s match against Slovenia. The Vuvuzela iPhone App became the number 1 app in iTunes in 50 countries in June! Coca Cola’s sponsored hashtag #wc2010 received 86 million impressions in 24 hours!!
And there’s more… Nike, considered by some to be the unofficial sponsor of FIFA 2010, cleverly used the ‘Like’ button in Facebook to promote their 3-minute television commercial ‘Write the future’ on their Nike Football Facebook page. The result? The commercial had received 14 million views between mid-May and mid-June. This number would have only increased as the finals drew closer. Adidas also came up with its own Facebook page. This graph shows the amount of social media traffic the various companies received during the World Cup.
The World Cup ignited a lot of creativity in social media, with many companies revamping their ad campaigns to include the brilliance of social media. Speaking of strange yet successful ad campaigns, wonder how many offers this guy received, considering that his loyal fandom is absolutely for sale!! As if Facebook pages, Twitter hashtags, fandom sales, and clever videos weren’t enough, this year even saw a football networking site, which is essentially…well… a social networking and content sharing site for football fans! Check out OleOle.com. And, really, forget Farmville… who’s up for renovating a football stadium and buying a couple of football teams?! You can do that on the FIFA Superstars game on Facebook!!
All said and done, the evolution of World Cup in social media is not a flash in the pan, but a trend that has been growing steadily over the years, and will only get bigger and better in the years to come. Mashable’s article on this evolution says it all.
The possibilities of social media are as endless as the forums and sites that are created everyday. The FIFA World Cup 2010 will be a long-spoken about example for this! So folks, let’s Waka Waka!!