Football fans "are once again bearing the brunt of changes to the Premier League fixture schedule by Sky and BT Sport," according to Charlie Skillen of the London DAILY MAIL. The TV duo released changes to kick-off times for every weekend up until the end of November, "leaving many travelling supporters frustrated." A large minority of the changes "leave it impossible for fans of the away side travelling on the train to either get to the host town or city in time for an early kick-off, or get home after an evening game." Monday night matches "are the worst culprits in the revised list, with five of the seven announced fixtures leaving train-travelling fans stranded in the host city, including Hull City vs West Ham on September 15 and Crystal Palace vs Sunderland on November 3." Chelsea’s traveling contingent "have it worst with three of their matches being late kick-offs at Burnley, Everton and Sunderland." A spokesperson for the Football Supporters’ Federation said, "Match-going fans come too far down the list of priorities when matches are selected for TV. Every season there are examples of games being moved to times which are extremely difficult for traveling fans" (DAILY MAIL, 7/15).
The World Cup showed that "investing exclusively in social networking may be a strategy of diminishing returns," according to Talon Outdoor Innovations Dir Richard Simkins for CAMPAIGN LIVE. While much has been made of this year’s tournament being "the most social event in history" -- a moniker that "will inevitably be bestowed on every forthcoming major sports event -- in truth each one is usually just more social than the one before." With the focus on digital, "traditional" media was expected to deliver "business as usual" execution, but frankly, "the out-of-home sector got well beyond the group stages." Many brands’ tactical executions "demonstrate just how nimble and impactful the sector now is and how powerful it can be when combined in an integrated strategy." The World Cup’s Brazil location "provided plenty of inspiration, not least of all in the official anthem being sponsored by Activia." Also capturing the nation’s interest was the referee’s white spray; "while this is in common usage in other football territories, it has novelty value in the UK, prompting an ad by deodorant brand, Sure." One of the biggest stories to emerge was courtesy of Uruguay's Luis Suárez’s "inability to keep his teeth to himself for a third time in his career." A number of brands "used this opportunity to biting effect with Snickers, Specsavers and Nandos, Aldi, Paddy Power and Bud Light, all running light-hearted creatives off the back of the story." Taking an industry-wide view, any major sporting event "has a positive impact; traditionally this time of year is buoyant and the World Cup has added to this extensively." One interesting observation that arose during the tournament "is that investing exclusively in social networking may be a strategy of diminishing returns." Twitter, especially, "is becoming very crowded with both proactive and reactive creative, so achieving cut-through is more challenging and success could require ever increasing levels of investment." It would appear that "the tournament brand winners are the ones who stuck with a multi-media approach" (CAMPAIGN LIVE, 7/15).
COKE LEADS THE WAY: CAMPAIGN LIVE's Sara Kimberley wrote research carried out as the World Cup drew to a close over the weekend "found Coca-Cola’s Facebook fans grew more than any other sponsor during the tournament, up by 2.5 million to 85 million." Visa "grew its fan base by the second-largest amount," followed by adidas and then McDonald’s (CAMPAIGN LIVE, 7/14). CAMPAIGN LIVE's Kate Magee wrote research by Hootsuite's analytics tool UberVu revealed that Argentina's Lionel Messi "was the most talked-about footballer on social media during the World Cup." Messi "received 363,000 mentions during the tournament." Brazil's Neymar "came a close second with 316,000 mentions." The most active day for player mentions was June 24, "after Suarez garnered 78,000 mentions following his sending off for biting an Italian player" (CAMPAIGN LIVE, 7/14). BNAMERICAS' Pedro Ozores wrote "during the World Cup final a data traffic record was also set." According to Brazilian telcos association Sinditelebrasil, 2.6 million photos "were sent during the match, at an average size of 0.55 MB." During the 64 matches of the tournament, inside the stadiums a total of 4.5 million phone calls were made and 48.5 million photos taken, "corresponding to 26.7 TB" (BNAMERICAS, 7/14).
TV coverage of the inaugural Hong Kong Premier League "is in doubt" with clubs being asked by broadcaster Now TV to pay a fee of HK$6M ($774,000), according to Chan Kin-wa of the SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST. The price was quoted by PCCW that runs Now TV, "which has been the official broadcaster for the First Division for the past three seasons." South China convenor Wallace Cheung Kwong-yung said, "We were told this figure at the meeting, but this is just unacceptable." Each of the nine clubs will have to pay about HK$700,000 ($90,000) "if they are to share the expenses." Cheung said that "they understood the importance of television coverage to the survival of the new top-tier competition, but hoped the HFKA could help." Cheung: "We understand there will be very little amount in prize money for the clubs next season and in that case, the association must try to help us minimize our costs. If they want support from us, they have to attend to our needs first." HKFA CEO Mark Sutcliffe agreed that "the amount quoted by Now TV would be too hard for the clubs to afford." Sutcliffe said, "We are still talking to other people as no one can afford it. We hope there will be a revised quote from PCCW or a better deal from other televisions stations" (SCMP, 7/15).
German pay-TV channel Sky "will accompany 2nd Bundesliga club 1860 Munich during the upcoming season for a four-part documentary," according to the TZ. The pay-TV network will get full access to players, coaches and team execs during the '14-15 season. Even the team's locker room is not off limits. The result will be a four-part documentary titled, "57, 58, 59, Sechzig." Club Finance Dir Markus Rejek said, "The documentary will offer an 'unforgettable behind-the-scenes view of our historic club' to every football fan." Sky will use the British documentary series "Being Liverpool" and HBO's "Hard Knocks" as examples for its project. Sky Senior VP of Sports Burkhard Weber said, "Those formats have inspired us for a long time and we wanted to do something similar with a Bundesliga team" (TZ, 7/15).
Argentine first division side Boca Juniors' Twitter account -- @BocaJrsOficial -- experienced an "exponential increase in followers over the last 40 days," making Boca Juniors the first Argentine team with more than 1 million Twitter followers. The club's strategy revolved around a #BocaEsMundial concept, "through which it published notes, interviews and videos of the World Cup, but with a focus on former Boca players." Boca's Twitter account had 290,000 followers in Dec. '12 (MARCA DE GOL, 7/14). ... MP & Silva and Arsenal's digital arm, Arsenal Broadband Ltd., extended their existing six-year deal to run through the '18-19 season. MP & Silva will continue to distribute the club's Arsenal Media Channel and remain its strategic media adviser. The AMC is Arsenal's weekly three-hour programming block, produced in HD, consisting of delayed match coverage from domestic competition, news and interviews (MP & Silva).