Historic Euro 2012 is classified as first ever 'social media' tournament
The relationship between football and social media is growing at a rapid pace but that growth was no more accelerated than during Euro 2012, which is now being known as football’s first major ‘social media tournament’.
During the final between Spain and Italy, Twitter users posted 15,000 tweets every second as the gap between sport and its supporters closed even further. This summer’s event in Poland and Ukraine brought engagement between players and fans to another level and the future of football coverage now has a totally different outlook.
Naturally, the tournament had many highs and a few lows but no matter how good or bad the story, it was always covered by social media. Fantastic footballing moments like Spain’s victory in the final and England’s triumph over Sweden attracted a large number of tweets but also events like Bert Van Marwijk’s sacking and Mario Balotelli’s training ground antics were big news on the site.
The fact that Euro 2012 news broke on Twitter well before it arrived on the BBC, Sky Sports or the Guardian website showed just how powerful social media can be when it comes to breaking news. Many people chose to visit Twitter in order to get their Euro 2012 news rather than head to a sports website or pick up a newspaper.
That said, this summer really saw the emergence of widespread journalism with plenty of people trying their hand at previews, match reports and opinion pieces which gave a diverse range of articles to choose from when scouring the web.
For example, we at Anchorfan previewed, covered and reported on every single match at Euro 2012 but with a twist from a mainstream sports website. Rather than just writing a bland match preview or report, we incorporated the views of sports stars and journalists in order to make us stand out from the ever increasing crowd.
To show the importance of the social aspect of the tournament, match previews/reports on Anchorfan that incorporated tweets received a minimum of over 200 views each. But other stories that didn’t include social media views only gained 50 views on average, proving that the social media aspect of the stories drew in more readers and made for more interesting articles.
Indeed, one single tweet from glamour model Virginie Caprice drew in over 1,600 views to the website and proved to be the most popular article on Anchorfan and without social media, those readers may never have visited the site and explored what it had to offer.
That doesn’t mean to say that the task of covering the event wasn’t difficult. For every story that broke in Poland and Ukraine, there were probably 5,000+ articles that reported it, making the task of standing out extremely tough but hopefully our colourful way of covering those stories achieved that.
But fans have also been encouraged by organisations and news sites to get involved on social media sites like Twitter and send in their views in order to make it a much more fan-orientated tournament. Supporters were asked to send in their images, videos, thoughts and their own general experiences of the event so that people at home could gauge how the tournament was going, but not necessarily through the eyes of a journalist.
Journalists and pundits also shared their Euro 2012 experiences on Twitter by posting photos and videos on their travels which gave them a much more human feel and showed exactly what they go through in between their time at matches. Those shared experiences ensured that the tournament had a much more social feel and that everyone at home felt included even if they were in their own armchairs.
And one Twitter page in particular, the #Euro2012 page, was a handy tool for supporters to use as it rounded up all the top tweets relating to the event in one place so fans didn’t have to trawl through millions of tweets but could easily access all the best Euro 2012 stories and tweets.
Social media sites are now also becoming useful tools for marketing and advertising for organisations such as UEFA as they can send out information regarding match tickets, fan areas, accommodation and mobile apps to a mass audience with just one post, a post which can then be shared around the world as users pass on that information.
So overall, this was a wonderful tournament for the relationship between football and social media and the involvement of the supporters created a feeling of positivity that drowned out the pre-tournament fears and worries. Fans did not abuse each other but rather mixed and interacted using social media which gave the tournament a real community feel.
The challenge now is for social media sites to keep improving before the 2014 World Cup in Brazil!
Match - Spain vs Italy (Final) - 1.2million tweets
Team - Spain - 873,194 tweets
Player mentions - Cristiano Ronaldo - 559million tweets
Total Tweet Count - 11,900,000 tweets
Top 10 Tweeters
• Michael Owen – The former England striker often gave his impartial but interesting views on matches and stories throughout the tournament. His knowledge and experience of the game made his tweets valuable and great to read.
• Joey Barton – Never short of a word or two, the QPR midfielder always came up with some novel tweets and created plenty of talking points throughout the event. Barton’s apparent dislike of Spain caused quite a stir but did make for brilliant reading!
• James Maw – As a magazine writer, Maw gave a different perspective on the tournament than your average newspaper or broadcast journalist. The tweets Maw wrote throughout the event are worth being on Twitter alone!
• John Cross – Daily Mirror sports reporter Cross gave great entertainment on Twitter as he reported his own individual views rather than only those he printed in the paper. By uploading images to support his tweets, he gave us a slightly alternative journalistic view of the tournament.
• Dan Roan – In terms of keeping us updated and showing us a tournament through the eyes of a journalist, Roan was arguably the best tweeter at Euro 2012. By tweeting images, video and opinions, he gave us a behind-the-scenes look at the event and always came up with fresh ideas to keep followers interested.
• Gary Lineker – As presenter of the BBC’s coverage of Euro 2012 and a former England striker, Lineker had a foot in both camps throughout the tournament. Lineker gave honest and frank views on both England and Euro 2012 in general and his tweets kept us entertained throughout – especially when he bragged subtly about the ratings!
• Stan Collymore – TalkSport’s very own commentator kept us updated with all the goings on at Euro 2012. Even during the Spain vs Portugal game, he was informing us all of Bert Van Marwijk’s sacking! Collymore may just be a journalist in the making!
• Henry Winter – One of the best resources at any football game or event, Winter didn’t disappoint this summer either. Gave insightful and interesting views on nearly every story and also tweeted parts of his interviews with players and managers so supporters could get a real flavour of what was occurring during the event.
• James Horncastle – European football writer Horncastle was an influential tweeter during the tournament with his superb knowledge of football around the continent. Horncastle was a useful resource for supporters and journalists alike with his valuable views on a range of different stories.
• Daniel Taylor – The Guardian’s chief football writer was great value at Euro 2012 as he blended in articles, blogs and images into his Twitter account. Always had time to answers supporters’ questions as well which made him a great journalist to follow throughout the tournament.
Top Euro 2012 Facebook Pages
• UEFA’s official tournament page – 857,000+ likes
• Euro 2012 Community Page – 124,500+
• Euro 2012 Athletes – 38,900 likes
• Euro 2012 (Professional Sports Team) – 35,000+ likes
Top Euro 2012 Apps
• UEFA’s official Euro 2012 app (Ranked No.1 in the UK)
• Carlsberg Euro 2012 app
• FourFourTwo’s Euro 2012 Statszone app
• Live Score’s Euro 2012 app
• Caught Offside for Euro 2012 app
• Euro 2012 Finals with Betfair app
Top Five Videos
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SB471I5Fxlo – Juan Mata’s goal in Euro 2012 final
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Bsckw9Fb_4 – Funny moments from Euro 2012
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evBaQR7K_TA&feature=related – Zlatan Ibrahmiovic goal vs France
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kc7kWtfwL0E – Keith Andrews attacked by referee
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iq06ayMdLGw – Best player in the world?