NEW YORK — Within seconds of every goal at this summer’s FIFA World Cup, a highlight will be clipped and posted on Twitter.
Every night, broadcasters in the U.S. (Fox Sports) and Australia (SBS) will air live analysis shows on the social media platform recapping that day’s play and previewing the next.
Brands are getting onboard, too. For the weeks leading up this year’s event, Tecate has concocted a storyline of Mexican soccer fans cheering on their team while out of their element in Russia, all tagged with the aspirational motto, #RusiaNosHaráHéroes (“Russia will make us heroes”).
— Пиво Teçate (@CervezaTecate) March 24, 2018
When the World Cup groups were being drawn last December, Corona held a parallel streaming broadcast with its own celebrity and athlete driven talk show under the banner #LaSuerteNoJuega (“Luck doesn’t play”).
And during qualifying, the Brazlian team showed of its table soccer skills. (As well as being a country, in the world of soccer, Brazil is a brand.) Superstar Neymar Jr. and his teammates began bouncing a soccer ball off a table in their locker room, all captured on film and posted on social media in a unique look at team life.
— Neymar Jr (@neymarjr) August 29, 2017
These are among the ways Twitter has been and will be working with brands and publishers before and during the World Cup to engage fans, its executives explained at an event in New York City on Tuesday.
“World Cup 2018 is the most global event in the history of our content partnerships business,” said Jay Bavishi, Twitter’s senior partnerships manager for global content.
The effort is highlighted by partnerships with 24 publishers across 12 countries and regions for delivery of on-field content, studio analysis and behind-the-scenes access. Brazil, France, and Spain are among the teams Twitter will be featuring as they train and travel around Russia. Advertisers are preparing content that can be planned in advance, anticipated or purely reactive. Take Snickers’ viral tweet in response to Uruguay star Luis Suarez’s biting an opponent from Italy four years ago, for instance:
— SNICKERS® (@SNICKERS) June 24, 2014
Twitter executives shared the results of research they commissioned showing that more people use Twitter and stay longer on the platform during major live events than on other social media services. The execs noted that soccer fans are a particularly active bunch with a year-over-year increase in soccer video sharing of 144 percent.
“It’s the first place that communities come to watch what’s happening and talk about it,” said Twitter VP global revenue and partnerships Matt Derella. “That’s especially true around the soccer community and around World Cup.”
Back in January, Fox Sports announced it will stream a live show, World Cup Now, hosted by Rachel Bonnetta on the social media platform. That show debuted in March at SXSW. The SBS program, #WorldGameLive with host Lucy Zelic, was revealed on Tuesday.
Will England break their fans’ hearts again this summer?
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) March 12, 2018
“Twitter, we look at ourselves as a bridge, not an island. One of the reasons I think we have such a positive relationship with broadcasters around the world is we are extending the reach of their broadcast,” Derella said, adding: “We are perfectly happy with moving people between screens because we know that, when they’re watching on television, they’re still going to have Twitter on because Twitter is the only place you’re going to have the live conversation happening as it unfolds.”
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The absence of the U.S. team from this year’s World Cup was not mentioned or joked about for nearly a full half-hour of Twitter’s presentation, until a question raised the issue of how that affected preparations. The executives answered by emphasizing Twitter’s global reach and the enduring appeal of the event beyond national allegiance.
“With respect to advertisers in the U.S., where maybe that was initially a disappointment for them and putting a wrinkle in their marketing strategy, our recommendation is that, ultimately, the audience that is interested in soccer and the audience that is going to consume World Cup content and the audience that’s going to engage in World Cup content is still going to do that in the States on Twitter, just in the absence of the U.S. team,” said Alex Josephson, senior director of global brand strategy. “So the question becomes, was your strategy to market around the U.S. team or was the strategy to reach soccer and World Cup audiences?”