With the 2014 FIFA World Cup ready to kick off this Thursday, Facebook and Twitter are gearing up to welcome and facilitate soccer fans. With a host of features large and small, Facebook and Twitter are primed to face off in an effort to capture the biggest share of audiences — and associated marketing dollars.
Facebook has created a World Cup trending hub, which includes fan maps, aggregated content from fans, brands and notable players. The hub also lists upcoming matches, and links to the team pages for the teams that are currently playing. Facebook is well positioned to serve soccer fans, as nearly 40 percent of Facebook’s 1.28 billion users are fans of the sport, according to AP technology writer Barbara Ortutay.
Facebook may have the largest potential audience, but Twitter isn’t interested in being left behind. Twitter boasts that its network will have the more intensive coverage. “Once the competition begins, the only real-time #WorldCup global viewing party will be on Twitter, where you can track all 64 matches, experience every goal and love every second, both on and off the pitch,” the company said in a blog post.
Twitter hopes to lead the conversation by offering the fastest updates from the best sources. The blog post noted that there would be official World Cup content from @FIFAWorldCup and team USA updates from @ussoccer. Sports Illustrated reporter Richard Deitsch has put together a list of must-follow accounts for the tournament including pundits, journalists and esteemed sports writers.
New users signing up to Twitter will be offered the ability to include their national team flag as their avatar. National codes, like #GER for Germany, will be accompanied by a small image of a flag just so users can double down on the national pride.
The 2014 World Cup is on track to become one of the most-watched television events ever. And to have an idea of how profitable the marketing around the event could be, FIFA will receive a projected $4 billion in television broadcasting fees alone. Big soccer can be very big business.
If your interest lies more in the social media numbers than the game, you can see which team would win the contest on social media follower numbers alone.