What seemed like an eternity to soccer fans, when South Africa was announced as the host to the 2010 World Cup, is finally upon us. Of course the die hard soccer fans are ready for the first match (some were even counting down the days after the 2006 matches). There will be a lot of casual fans ready to join in on the fun. Driving around where I live you see lots of flags for the national team as well as other teams that are participating. I'd love to have a percentage of the money that will have been spent directly and indirectly on the 2010 World Cup in terms of advertising, promotion, merchandising, goods and services, and overall tie ins. One of the nice things about an event like the World Cup is that it gives us all a chance to be part of something much bigger than ourselves. It gives us a chance to connect with other fans. This World Cup in particular gives lots of opportunities to connect in all kinds of ways.
|Group A||Group B||Group C||Group D|
|Group E||Group F||Group G||Group H|
|Japan||New Zealand||Ivory Coast||Honduras|
If the American team has a good run it will certainly help its popularity there. As time goes by soccer gets more and more popular but it is still dwarfed in popularity by the more traditional American sports. The sport is gaining popularity when you look at all the possibilities there are for boys and girls to play soccer. I imagine having England in the same group is probably a good thing as more Americans are likely to watch a match against England given the vast ties that we have to them. David Beckham was known to many Americans before, but since he has played some games in the U.S. now, he is a player that they identify with and therefore at least one match against England seems like a good idea.
In tournaments you never know what teams will catch fire, will there be any good Cinderella stories, or what matches will be the most exciting, but here are some of the games that are likely to be highly watched and anticipated:
- June 11th- South Africa-Mexico this is the opener for host nation and should give us a chance to see how much the home crowd motivates them to win
- June 12th- England- U.S.A
- June 13th- Germany-Australia- How will Germany do with their new captain and how will the other injuries they had effect their play
- June 14th- Netherlands-Denmark- These neighbors of Germany will be ready to play
- June 16th- Spain-Switzerland-
- June 17th- France- Mexico- You might remember that France lost the 2006 World Cup Finals, so they'll be out to capture what eluded them last time
- June 22th- Greece- Argentina- Will their recent social and political troubles give Greece that motivation needed to excel? Argentina is usually ready for a good World Cup go
- June 25th- Brazil-Portugal- Remember that Brazil was once a colony of Portugal, I'm sure this hasn't escaped conversations in Brazil, and Brazil has a storied World Cup history
There are all kinds of possibilities for match ups after the group play is over. Since North Korea and South Korea are both playing in the World Cup this go round, we could have them playing at some point (maybe even the finals?). The promotional possibilities are endless. Can you just see it, a Koren War without bullets being fired or people being killed, and hopefully no "police action" required. Maybe Italy, winner of the 2006 World Cup, will be more challenged by their group than I anticipate, but I think that they're ready to defend their title and are likely to advance past the groups at the very least.
Social Media has exploded in the last few years, so this is the first World Cup where we're able to see an effect of the influence and how it is being used. Mashable suggests at least 5 Reasons Every Sports Fan Should Be On Social Media. I'm sure that Facebook will be full of all kinds of groups related to the World Cup, several soccer clubs already have fan sites in Facebook so, it'll be interesting to see what happens there. I'm even more curious to see what happens in the Twitterverse, while this is likely to take on several lives of its own in this sphere. Mashable wrote a a nice article about HOW TO: Follow the 2010 World Cup on Twitter, with some good tips on things you can do and who you might want to follow for scores, trivia, and so on. Many of your more traditional sports/news outlets like CNN, NY Times, Associated Press, BBC, Sports Illustrated will be tweeting from or about the World Cup. There will be lots of other sports/ news outlets tweeting about the World Cup. Twitter has set up a special site to keep up with the World Cup and they have a twitter account that uses an algoritum to keep track the top World Cup tweets. TweetMeme has also set up an account with World Cup tweets.
You can also use search terms and Hashtags to keep up with all of the World Cup tweets. #worldcup #wc2010 #2010worldcup were all widely used when Mashable wrote their story. Different search terms and Hashtags are being used depending upon what language you wish to follow in, for example,“Copa Mundial” is being used in Spanish tweets and “Coupe du Monde” in French and so on. There are also tags being used for the different national teams like #England and #USMNT for those national teams. Twitter and most of the various Twitter clients allow you to save searches, so you can experiment with saving various searches. In most cases it isn't difficult to delete the saved searches, so after the World Cup is over you should be able to get ride of any searches that you don't want saved any longer.
Twitter lists allow you to follow a group of users, so you can create your own list of Tweeters covering the World Cup, that you think are saying interesting things about it, or that you just want to interact with. Mashable has put together their own World Cup List, so you can follow this list or maybe use it as a basis to create your own list.
Twitter certainly won't have a lock on all of the World Cup action in the Social Media space. Mashable had another interesting piece about JibJab letting you make your own World Cup video placing you and some friends in the bodies of soccer players. I'm sure that the number of soccer related videos will be exploding on YouTube. In fact, Mashable did a post about the 10 Best World Cup Goals on YouTube.
South Africa is certainly hoping that hosting the 2010 World Cup will bring them economic and other benefits. Hosting a successful and memorable event can certainly help to put the country in a more positive light. I wish them the best. It is probably too late for you to do some kind of tie-in to the World Cup but it can certainly be fun to figure out what you could do and what creative ways you can enjoy the World Cup. It will certainly be interesting to see what comes out of the Social Media in the 2010 World Cup and what lessons we can learn from it. And hopefully we have some good soccer to enjoy. Do you have World Cup fever yet?
Photo Credit: Classic Soccer Ball 3 courtesy of fangol