One of the world’s largest global sporting events, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup (the FIFA World Cup), has begun and promises a month of excitement for billions of football (soccer in the U.S.) fans around the world. The event is poised to create a truly immersive sports experience across media platforms by combining the reach and familiarity of traditional television with the excitement of new digital offerings.
Brazil’s challenges hosting the 2014 FIFA World Cup — stadium construction, transportation issues and public protests — are well known. Added to that are the limitations of Brazil’s telecom network. Data use in the country has outpaced network growth. Compounding the strain on the network will be the arrival of more than 600,000 foreign fans and their smartphones.
Despite these challenges, the FIFA World Cup’s impact on the sporting and media and entertainment worlds is enormous. Sports programming still drives the greatest live TV ratings, which is why broadcasters pay a premium for sports rights and why advertisers flock to marquee events like the Super Bowl and Olympic Games.
The 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa was a success, and this event will be no different. TV viewing is expected to break records due to a growing worldwide soccer following, along with favorable match scheduling in key markets. Advertisers want to reach the more than 3 billion people expected to watch the matches. The 2014 FIFA World Cup will generate $4 billion in total revenue for FIFA — 66 percent more than the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa. Most of FIFA’s revenue will come from television rights ($1.7 billion) and marketing rights ($1.35 billion).
Growing global digital penetration means that the 2014 FIFA World Cup will be the most digital FIFA World Cup ever. The amount of data traffic coursing through networks will grow by an estimated 25 percent CAGR between 2010 and 2017. Such growth explains why big brands are spending considerably more on digital marketing than they did for the last FIFA World Cup. Media companies want to reach their existing and new audiences wherever they are. Their desire to do so was reinforced in our most recent CFO study. Study participants identified the evolution of digital and online distribution as the No. 1 priority for their organizations.
The explosion of social media is expected to make this FIFA World Cup a gigantic “social” event. FIFA, broadcasters and advertisers are actively embracing social networks and other social-media formats including blogs, live streams and mobile apps. Some broadcasters and sponsors have created their own hubs, micro-sites and dedicated social networks that will aggregate content from different social-media platforms into soccer topics to drive conversations. Broadcasters will leverage these micro-sites to provide additional content such as pre-match analysis, interviews, live match data, polls and crowd-sourced content. Broadcasters are also teaming with popular social-media sites to integrate social media into their broadcasts, and they will offer apps that allow viewers to access different types of content such as multiple camera angles, clips and statistics. Features that prove to be popular are sure to make their way into future digital offerings. Advertisers, meanwhile, have created brand campaigns that span popular social-media sites, using real-time content to connect with fans.
The tremendous media onslaught creates tremendous marketing and branding opportunities. Higher TV viewership, combined with the second-screen experience and social media, offers broadcasters and marketers unparalleled opportunities to build and enhance customer relationships. It will be interesting to see what they will do to make the most of the 2014 FIFA World Cup frenzy.
As EY’s Global Media & Entertainment Leader, Mr. Nendick is responsible for directing and coordinating the organization’s services to clients in the media and entertainment industry. He has significant experience in film and television production and distribution, music, broadcasting, cable and satellite, and new media and the convergence of media and entertainment with software and technology. The views reflected in this article are the views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the global EY organization or its member firms.