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The World Cup and the Internet

Joga Players
I’ve never understood why NBA or NFL players call themselves world champions. To be world champions, don’t you have to compete against the rest of the world? No matter – that’s why we have the 2006 FIFA World Cup. It is a sport that resonates across all cultures, classes, religions and countries. The Internet also resonates across all the aforementioned. Put the two of them together and you have one powerful combination.
Yes, television is required to watch the games in their entirety (for now) but if you want to listen to games or check live updates, you can do so online. The Official Site of the “2006 FIFA World Cup hosted by Yahoo”: allows you view game highlights online as well.
This is critical for football fans (I refuse to use the word ‘soccer’) in North America. We are in the middle of the working day while matches are being played live a few time zones ahead in Europe. Unfortunately, calling in sick during the World Cup is not as socially acceptable here as it is in other parts of the world.
The numbers of people checking out the World Cup on the Internet is staggering. According to “eMarketer”: 5.7 Million unique visitors visited the offical 2006 FIFA World Cup site in April and 4.2 Million unique visitors in March. This is before the tournament started!

Other interesting features are RSS feeds such as the one offered for the “Google Homepage”: The feature is pretty basic but effective if you can’t run to a television when in need of a quick fix.
My other favorite thing are the World Cup podcasts available on iTunes. Besides my regular addictions such as “Six Pixels of Separation”: there are football-related video podcasts by “Nike”:,ce,0;jogatv,,0,0,0,0 and “Adidas”: which are very creative and extremely well done. Kudos to the agencies that built them.
I suspect these kinds of online campaigns will have a greater branding and sales impact for advertisers than traditional media. Television networks are no longer allowed to run television ads during games. And thank heavens FIFA made that decision. Those split screen formats drove me nuts.
Candidly, my struggle now is to manage work, family and football for the next 30 days but the Internet makes it easier. Now you’ll have to excuse me as I go check on Australia and Japan…
_Full disclosure: Sulemaan supports Brazil, Ivory Coast and England in that order._

One Comment

  1. Don Lange
    Don Lange June 13, 2006

    Hi Sulemaan,
    An interesting article. You might be interested to hear that we have been running Search campaigns across North America for the last month and a half for FourFourTwo Magazine, a “football” pub out of Britain. The strategy was to establish a foothold and optimize in time for the launch of World Cup. Needless to say, (and despite the fact we were immediately happy with results) conversions have been great in the last few weeks as the fever built. Don Lange – Cornerstone.

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