In this presentation, and in the absence of Sepp Blatter, I’m going to be talking about the World Cup, using data from within Kantar Media and from other sources, looking at how the tournament performed on TV and what impact it had on the use of emerging technologies. I’ll start by considering the global TV audience for the tournament and examining whether or not it is growing. I’ll then talk through some of the ways in which online, mobile and social media have started to make their presence felt. Finally I’ll be looking at what this might all mean for companies trying to make their voice heard in amongst the WC noise.
It will come as no surprise to anyone to hear that football is the most popular sport in the world, #1 ranked for sport viewing in countries spanning the globe, ranging from the traditional footballing heartlands in Europe (UK, Germany, France, Russia) and Latin America (Brazil, Argentina, Mexico) to new markets such as China and South Africa. The story that goes that every four years the world, with a few exceptions (e.g. US, India), comes together for the global game’s marquee tournament, the FIFA World Cup. But what is the impact of this global gathering on how people use media and what are the implications of this for media owners and brands?
So does the global TV audience jump when these big events happen? Well to understand that we need to understand the nature of the events we are discussing. Before kick off, just over a third of people in the UK said they planned to follow the tournament, showing that the World Cup is a huge ‘event’ in itself. But it’s really a long-running play made up of many ‘acts’ along the way. Engagement ebbs and flows over the course of a month long tournament and audiences know which elements will be most important to them. Looking back over Kantar Media Audiences data from a number of markets in the last 10 years or so, we don’t tend to see any particular peaks or long-term trends in the amount of people watching TV in WC months/ years relative to those years with no major sporting focus.
The Olympics follows a different format, being much shorter (2 weeks) and with focus shifting quickly as we follow the stories that emerge. The broader appeal of the Olympics, as shown by the higher number of people planning to follow events – 57%, does appear to have helped spike viewing in some markets in 2008 (such as UK and China, not surprisingly, Aug 2008 having c.10% higher avg viewers than 2007, 2009). A similar, albeit less pronounced, effect was seen in the UK during the 2004 Olympics. And we can expect 2012 to have an even bigger impact than any previous Olympics as a result of being the host nation. But to date, is there an impact which pushes overall annual figures upwards? There’s not really a clear link.
But as you would expect we do see certain markets hitting occasional highs during World Cups, in line with the level of success or involvement they experience. In South Africa, the games involving the host nation were the most popular but the final itself ranked inside the top 5 audiences for any programme shown in SA in the last 5 years. The audience was over 3 times the size of that recorded during the 2006 World Cup final. In Spain, the final was the second most watched broadcast of all-time, just beaten by the audience that watched their 2008 European Championships triumph. The final attracted the highest audience ever in the Netherlands, over half of the population and 90% of all TV viewing during the match.
Even in the US, where football has historically struggled to gain a foothold, there were record audiences for the USA games during the tournament. This culminated in a record for a football match in the US when 23.8m people watched the final. This beat the previous record, USA v Ghana in the 2nd round, by 20%. If you needed any more proof that the World Cup was having an impact in the US, this audience was greater than the average audience for the whole of the 2009 World Series baseball, the 2010 NBA basketball Finals and the final round of the 2010 Masters golf. So how did this translate in global terms? Figs from FIFA audience reports compiled by Kantar Sport, part of Kantar Media
FIFA reports compiled by Kantar Sport suggest that the audience for the World Cup final grew by 1% compared to 2006. Hardly growth at all then, but in line with pre-tournament expectations for the World Cup as a whole. We should remember though that this is in the region of 70 million extra people watching! But even as football’s popularity grows in territories like the US, we might not expect to see huge leaps in the TV audience until the likes of China, India and Indonesia start qualifying for the finals. In China, where TV penetration is at 94% and audiences can be counted in the hundreds of millions, a World Cup appearance would undoubtedly see WC viewing reach new levels. Until then, the Olympics is likely to be the place where overall records are set – after all, the 2008 Beijing games are said to have reached almost every one of China’s 1.3 billion people at some stage. It is in these territories where the real golden geese, for FIFA at least, are.
So what of the world beyond television? This world has changed dramatically over the course of the last 3 World Cups. In 2002, the online aspect of the tournament extended to related websites and not much else. In 2006 the websites were a bit more advanced and activities like blogging were beginning to take hold but the world’s big social networks were in their infancy.
2010 was the first World Cup, perhaps even the first global sports event, to take place surrounded by a fully functioning internet and social media ecosystem. It’s also the first where the mobile phone is being taken seriously as a multimedia device. But we haven’t always lived in a constantly switched on, wired up world and newspapers have continued to fulfil an important role. In the UK, research conducted by News International found that 31% of people read about the World Cup in a newspaper. They played a key role in capturing the mood of the nation and helping people to reflect and digest as the tournament progressed. But we see increasing evidence of existing media repertoires stretching to embrace additional sources. And people have been extremely quick incorporate these new channels into their World Cup consumption. 2010 has seen an explosion of online, mobile and social media usage around the World Cup.
In more mature internet markets we saw the worth of online streaming demonstrated, especially valuable for matches scheduled to clash with work , such as in the case of the England v Slovenia which took place on a Wednesday afternoon. During this game UK internet traffic levels are said to have risen by 50%, and the BBC reported delivering 800k simultaneous live streams. Meanwhile in the US ESPN’s online TV channel ESPN3.com saw a number of records set. Live streams reached 6.9m unique users and the final was their biggest ever live event. The success of this online streaming should not come as too much of a surprise given that most games in South Africa would have been happening during working hours in the US. With the next World Cup taking place in Brazil, 3-4 hrs behind most of Europe but well-aligned for US viewing, it will be interesting to see if patterns change. Numbers of those using streaming or mobile apps will surely rise everywhere but they may have extra importance in places like Japan and Australia where the time difference will necessitate some extreme viewing behaviour.
Social networks and associated devices played a key role in allowing people to share and experience this World Cup. In the last year or two we’ve heard a lot about simultaneous device usage in conjunction with TV viewing; the WC really brings home just how much this has become part and parcel of the TV experience, especially during big events. Globally, Twitter experienced record tweet traffic during the World Cup, with a new ‘tweets per second’ record during the tournament. They had peak traffic of 3,283 tweets per second against an average of 750. And if you’re thinking that this was set during the final, you’d be wrong. Very wrong as it turns out.
That 3,283 tweets per second record came towards the end of the Japan v Denmark on Thursday 24th June. Qualification for the second round was at stake but still… And if through some horrible sequence of events you happen to have forgotten this game, Japan won 3-1.
Other research conducted by the IAB/ ESPN during the World Cup found that 20% of respondents on their fan panel were sharing their feelings on Facebook prior to matches, 12% during and 25% after the game. Some research we conducted during an actual match seemed to support these findings…
Cast your mind back to June 12th, a sunny Saturday and the nation gathering for England v USA. At half time during the match we interviewed a sample of smartphone users watching the game (207), asking whether or not they had used their mobile phone during the first half, and what for. 65% used their mobile during that first half, with texting the most common behaviour followed by internet access and social network use. It makes you wonder what people used to do during matches but also shows how much a part of the experience it has become that we share and communicate beyond our immediate surroundings. Smartphones have made this possible and the generation coming through looks set to lead the way in using them. As an aside, 76% of our sample predicted that England would go on to win this game but this shouldn’t cast doubt on the validity of their responses.
Of course, younger age groups were giving us clues as to what would happen as much as 3 years ago. In this Kantar Sport data about how European football fans follow football, we can see how in 2007 the market as a whole was adopting new technology at a slower rate than 18-24s. By the time 2010 comes around, the market as a whole has caught up with the 2007 18-24s, but the penetrations for following football via mobile or online within the 18-24 age group have increased even further. Roll this chart forward two, three or four years and we might expect to see two-fifths of the total market watching online, and more than 1 in 10 using their mobile phone to follow football. Though with advances in technology and broadband/ network capability, we could probably expect to see these figures higher still… While I would expect TV audiences for football remain as strong as ever, the potential for extra engagement and consumption on other devices is clear; whereas before there were times and places when people couldn’t follow the action, increasingly these don’t exist and that brings eyeballs back into the domain of sponsors and advertisers.
Some of you will recognise the Bavaria Beer ladies from the World Cup, perhaps the most infamous piece of ambush marketing conducted during the tournament. Bavaria Beer managed to get their hands on a block of tickets for one of the matches and sent along a group of girls in their trademark orange costumes to generally draw attention to themselves (or should that be the Bavaria brand?). The fact that there isn’t a large contingent of orange-clad blonde girls here today suggests that Robbie Earle didn’t manage to sell on his conference tickets, but the fuss that this caused - one sacking, numerous arrests etc - shows how serious the business of World Cup sponsorship is these days, as if we didn’t know that by the sums involved. A company will pay anywhere between $100-175million to be ‘official partners’ of the World Cup; that includes the likes of Coke, Adidas, Sony, Visa among others. Mere ‘official sponsors’ pay between $40-100million; this includes companies like McDonald’s, Budweiser and Castrol. So they’re keen to maximise their investment.
Event sponsorship is high in prestige and can be quite safe when compared with sponsoring teams or specific players, where a company open themselves up to the risks associated with individual performances, failures or, in the case of the England team, behaviour. But these days the risks of official sponsorship can be high too because other companies have more ways than ever to steal your thunder. This ‘noise’ might be why 40% of football followers in the UK couldn’t pick out any brands sponsoring the World Cup when shown a list of companies prior to the event.
The good news for the official sponsors is that the 40% figure dropped to 24% during the tournament itself, suggesting that the constant exposure started to pay dividends as the tournament progressed. In the UK the sponsors from the official list that fared best included Coca-Cola (40% recognised as a sponsor of the WC during the tournament), McDonald’s (34%), Budweiser (29%) and Adidas (28%). Levels of sponsorship recognition receded again after the tournament finished but generally remained higher than they had been previously.
By nature of the sums involved, official partners and sponsors tend to often be the largest brands. This means that in a market like the UK we’re used to seeing them and their advertising every day – we have existing relationships and massive World Cup investment is unlikely to shift our perceptions that much. We can see how hard it is by looking at brand opinion scores for official sponsors from before, during and after the WC. But as we know, these sponsorships aren’t just done for commercial reasons. They also offer companies a great chance to tie their brand to popular occasions and can help large companies engage with their workforce too. Q. As a result of their sponsorship of FWC, how likely are you to use them in future? Much more, somewhat more likely
In the unofficial category, Nike got things very right in the run up to this year’s World Cup. Despite not being a FIFA partner, Kantar Sport figures for the UK suggested that their connection with football rated higher than all World Cup sponsors bar Coca-Cola. Of course they have ongoing links at other times through teams and players which build connection but the World Cup is a key time for them as much as for official partners. So in the run-up to the tournament they released their “Write The Future” TV ad. Released over the internet on 21st May, it was a huge social media hit, immediately trending on Twitter and dominating buzz charts. Globally it had 7.8m views on YouTube after one week, rising to over 19m by the end of the tournament. By contrast, Adidas released their WC ad on 5th June and it ‘only’ recorded around 3m views in its first couple of weeks on release. This helped Nike to steal a march on rival Adidas in the build-up to the World Cup with early buzz monitoring measures suggesting that Nike ranked ahead of Adidas in terms of share of mentions. During the WC itself (Jun, July) they rated as well as official partner Adidas for spontaneous mentions of football sponsors. The official partnership is no guarantee of success and the Nike example shows how an engaging, shareable creative helped them to benefit from the WC as much as Adidas did with their multi-million dollar FIFA contract.
So how do companies go about getting it right? Well, there are no guarantees but it seems like the successes follow a few basics… Consistency – witness the highest FWC sponsor association for Coca-Cola and McDonald’s, brands who have been investing in sporting events for a long time and have high visibility alongside sport outside of the large event cycle. Relevance – developed either over time, as with Coca-Cola and McDonald’s, or by obvious links to the product, such as in the case of Adidas and Nike. Interest – brands that get it right tend to have something to offer, whether it’s compelling brand generated content or other related benefits (tickets, etc) Tactics - it’s impossible to dominate every channel, especially for those brands without official accreditation. Look to dominate a single channel or sector.
Mrg 2010 paper km c gordon
An Audience That’s All to Play For
Image: Jason Bagley via Flickr
the #1 ranked TV sport in the world…
Kantar Media TGI Global 2010
UK: 36% planned to
follow the World Cup
…versus one giant whole
UK: 57% will
an involved audience…
- 4 of top 5 audiences since 2005
- Final three times audience for
highest ever audience
- highest ever audience
Figs from FIFA audience reports compiled by
getty images, fifa.com
Image: dundasfc via Flickr
land of opportunity…
record audiences in USA
final most watched ‘soccer’
game ever - 23.8m
Image: sdotcruz via Flickr
c. 1% audience
not forgetting facebook…
20% update status pre-game
Src: IAB/ ESPN
smartphone use, 1st
half, eng v usa
younger age group set the trend
Q. You said that you follow each of the sports listed below. Please select the relevant options in
each column to indicate how you interact with each one – Football. Base: Football Fans (Europe)
% in Europe following football by…