Saturday, June 28, 2014

The World Cup is a beautiful thing

FIFA World Cup 2014 in Brazil

I can't believe the group stage is already over.

There were some surprises. World champion Spain was thrashed, 1-5, by the Netherlands and never recovered. Ronaldo's Portugal, Rooney's England, and Balotelli's Italy also failed to advance. That's a lot of European star power we won't get to see in the second stage. And who could've expected Chile would be this good?

There was entertainment. The group stage produced 136 goals - the most ever - highlighted by Van Persie's Superman header against Spain, Cahill's amazing one-timer, Messi's beautiful curler, and of course Klose's record-tying 15th World Cup goal.

And we also had controversy, with Suarez sinking his teeth into Chiellini's shoulder. He has been given a nine-game international ban and a four-month football ban. An appropriate punishment for Uruguay's lead striker, who has been the butt of countless brand tie-ins and hilarious memes.

Luis Suarez bite controversy tie-ins and memes

Kudos, Internet.

As the world gears up for the second stage, I want to applaud how truly global the World Cup is. Billion-dollar brands like Nike and Samsung did a great job of adding to the buzz, taking part in the World Cup mania with their "Risk Everything" and "Football Will Save The Planet" campaigns.

Then Twitter stepped in, lauching the "Love Every Second" ad, encouraging World Cup fans to tweet along and use the platform's new features (most notably the match timelines and hashflags) during the games. Fans have been doing just that on a massive scale, with 230 million people chiming in via FIFA's digital channels by the end of the group stage. That's 3,078x the capacity of the Maracana.

The Official FIFA World Cup App recently also became the biggest sports event app of all time with a record 20 million downloads in just 26 days.

Other impressive statistics include:
  • 358 million Facebook users reached with official FIFA content.
  • 13.5 million Twitter followers.
  • 670.000 Instagram followers.
The World Cup is an unprecedented mobile and social phenomenon, truly bringing the games to a global stadium by engaging fans more than ever before. All you have to do is #joinin.

Go Red Devils!

Update: Check out this infographic by Northstar, detailing the biggest brands, the top players, and the most lucrative endorsements.

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