I just finished watching the semi-final World Cup match between Spain and Germany. Yesterday’s match between The Netherlands and Uruguay was much more exciting, but compared to 10-20 years ago, it’s amazing that I’m even watching the event live.
Yes, worldwide the World Cup is the biggest sporting event and it regularly breaks broadcast numbers due to the fact that soccer is truly a global sport. But in looking at the event now compared to when I was growing up marks an unbelievable difference largely due to technology.
Up until this decade, if you wanted to follow the World Cup the best you could do in America was to catch the highlights on the local news for a few minutes, maybe, if you were lucky. Now, even such mainstream publications as the New York Times and Wall Street Journal have live blogs about the tournament where ordinary people can share their thoughts and comments about the games.
You can Tweet about it, read or post blog entries. After The Netherlands upset favorite Brazil, loyal fans of Dutch Orange all over the globe celebrated together online which accidentally crashed Twitter. You can catch games being broadcast in 3D, and for those of you at work you can watch the games streaming on your desktop (my favorite) or smartphone.
In a truly amazing sign of the times regular citizens in Communist-ruled North Korea can even watch their team play live.
“North Koreans will get a rare opportunity to join the rest of the world in watching a live football match on television today, when their team take on Portugal in the World Cup. The state broadcaster, Korean Central Television, is expected for the first time in this tournament to show a crucial Group B game as it happens, according to two sources in Pyongyang. The live screening is likely to generate excitement in North Korea, where football is the most popular sport but most games are shown only after a delay of several hours or days.” The Guardian
In the United States youth soccer seems to be one of the largest programs in the nation. Yet somehow that doesn’t translate into World Cup championships. Every four years during the World Cup a cry goes out in the U.S. that predicts/hopes that the excitement generated will help spur the growth of soccer at the professional level. While soccer is well behind the big four of football, baseball, basketball and NASCAR, there are signs of growing popularity – especially as all those soccer-playing youths grow up. And no doubt social media and ESPN on-demand are aiding the cause.
Switching back to our world of high tech PR and marketing…how can we apply these awesome tools to more effectively reach global audiences? What creative ways have you used modern technology to spread your message around the world in unconventional ways?
Author: Rob Goodman
Rob Goodman is a communications professional with more than 27 years of experience in public relations, marketing and content creation.