SBD/June 11, 2014/Media

Soccer Media Notes: Fox Sports Partners With Omnigon For World Cup Coverage

Fox Sports has partnered with digital consultancy Omnigon Communications to create a new second-screen experience for the '14 FIFA World Cup, called Match Trax. The offering, designed for both mobile and desktop platforms, includes live-match commentary, statistics, social media integration, and game visualizations. The effort is also designed in part as a runup toward the '18 and '22 World Cups in which Fox will have exclusive U.S. media rights. “This is a good start for us as we prepare to superserve soccer fans for the next eight years,” said Pete Vlastelica, Fox Sports Exec VP/Digital (Eric Fisher, Staff Writer).

BRISTOL'S BIG BUY-IN
: CNET.com’s Joan Solsman noted ESPN’s relaunch of its ESPN FC properties last week “beefed up the digital side” to its World Cup coverage while “integrating it more deeply with its televised coverage than ever before.” ESPN FC will feature a “new website, app, advertising strategy, and aggressive” content plan, “underscoring how media giants are embracing the idea that giving away the goods online only helps.” The app will “feel familiar to anyone who uses ESPN's SportsCenter app, with the ESPN FC version sharing the same base code.” The new ESPN FC website is “responsive across desktop, smartphone and tablet devices and is laid out like a feed of story cells where ESPN can plug in any kind of media.” ESPN FC relaunched "with a global audience in mind” as the new site and app have a “slew of ‘editions’ that let you choose the language and the country that you're most interested in” (CNET.com, 6/8).

SKY IS THE LIMIT: The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER's Roxborough & Kemp reported Sky Sports will launch Sky Sports 5, a dedicated European soccer channel “billed as the first ever network solely devoted to continental soccer.” Sky Sports 5 will “carry up to 600 live European soccer matches” starting next season, including games from La Liga, the Coppa Italia and the UEFA Champions League. Sky is “launching its marketing campaign this week to take advantage of the hype” surrounding the World Cup. David Beckham is the “face of a Brit-wide marketing campaign launched by Sky to promote the new channel” (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 6/10).

NOT LOST IN TRANSLATION: BROADCASTING & CABLE’s George Winslow notes Spanish-speaking soccer fans will “see a number of improvements” with Univision’s World Cup coverage this year, thanks to the net’s “close partnership with FIFA’s Host Broadcast Services (HBS) and a variety of vendors.” These include a “record amount of content -- close to 300 hours -- as well as new sets with improved data, graphics, touchscreen technologies and virtual reality systems.” To “ensure no interruptions in coverage, Univision has three separate fiber paths back to the U.S. for its TV channels.” The net has been “working closely with digital partner NeuLion to ensure that its digital offerings can withstand the heavy traffic” (BROADCASTING & CABLE, 6/9 issue).

CANDID CAMERA: In DC, Marissa Payne noted GoPro has created a "whole series based on the World Cup," and the first of the three episodes is set to be released next week. GoPro "decided to wet the Web’s whistle by releasing the series’ kickoff video on Monday." The first episode of the series, which "will come out on June 18, is called 'Roots' and will take on the topic of why Brazilians tend to dominate soccer on the world stage" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 6/10).
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