World Cup Fever?

The biggest sporting show on Earth got underway on Friday.

You can’t cross the street without seeing a St. George’s Cross adorning a white van, or go into a pub without hearing discourse on the state of Wayne Rooney’s metatarsal.

Games that you’d never normally watch suddenly generate huge appeal – when would you ever usually watch Mexico vs. Iran – and all rational thought is superceded by blind optimism for four weeks.

And of course, workplaces across the country brace themselves for unprecedented levels of absenteeism brought about by a nasty bout of world cup fever.

Three days in, and the usual broadcasting battles have commenced and predictably, the BBC are way out in front. But this isn’t restricted to the quality of the pundits and the sharpness of Gary’s one-liners. The real treat is online, with the BBC’s simulcasting of the games that they are showing.

Whilst this multi-casting option would have been great for Japan / South Korea four years ago, it’s still going to be very useful for those work-unfriendly kick offs at 2pm & 5pm. Have a look here.

Having roadtested the technology during the opener, I’m pleased to report that all went well, with the feed only slipping a couple of times and the action running only seconds behind the TV broadcast.

When you couple this innovation with the Beeb’s use of interactive TV to provide depth of audio choice, as well as live viewer interaction for in-match man of the match voting, Auntie really is pulling out all the stops to embrace new technology in a relevant and competant way.

On the other side of the pitch, ITV have scraped together some marginally entertaining sponsorship idents for Budweiser (although the ‘yanks don’t do footy’ gag is wearing a bit thin now) and, bizarrely, have roped in EDF as a co-sponsor (with awful idents). Having spoken to a few media buyers, it appears ITV have not had the revenue that they expected for the tournament, and this dual-sponsorship stinks of desperation.

At least they’ve got Sam Allardyce.

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