Iowa Public Radio Tackles How Twitter Turned World Cup into a Global Sports Bar

By @ibtimesau on
Brazil's Neymar grimaces as he is carried off the pitch after being injured during their 2014 World Cup quarter-finals against Colombia at the Castelao arena in Fortaleza July 4, 2014.
Brazil's Neymar grimaces as he is carried off the pitch after being injured during their 2014 World Cup quarter-finals against Colombia at the Castelao arena in Fortaleza July 4, 2014. REUTERS

All eyes and ears are on the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2014 tournament in Brazil, especially with the recent heartbreaking loss of the host nation, 7-1, to Germany which has become the topic of discussion in radio and TV talk shows, offices, coffee shops, schools and sports columns.

Interest would reach a peak on Sunday, July 13, when the championship game would be held between Germany and Argentina.

The Iowa Public Radio likewise tackled the hot topic on Thursday when host Michel Martin discussed with ESPN senior writer Pablo Torre how Twitter turned the World Cup into a global sports bar.

The loss of Brazil was a trending topic in Twitter, the most popular microblogging site as millions of netizens gave their two cents' worth on the controversial game that ended Brazil's quest for a championship trophy. While the game was ongoing on Wednesday, 35.6 million tweets were posted, according to Martin.

Twitter's presence has become so ubiquitous that while Torre was physically watching the match, he was also frequently checking his mobile phone for tweets. He explained, "This is kind of where the conversation is happening. This is where you sort of get a sense of what the public is interested in."

He observed that the tweets had shifted from Brazil's loss to Argentina making it to the finals match which is sort of an insult to Brazilians because the country is king of soccer in South America. "The fact that Argentina, their most hated international rival is there is going to - that is certainly one constant stream of anger flowing across the Internet and flowing across real life as well in Brazil," Torre continued.

The ESPN sports expert also cited as another example of the major role that Twitter had was when Brazilian top player Neymar da Silva Santos was injured during the game against Colombia. Rather than hold a news conference to discuss the impact of his vertebra fracture, Neymar released on Twitter a video addressed to soccer fans, in effect, "bypassing everybody to connect directly to fans and monetizing his own influence, own popularity," Torre noted.

Insofar as radio is concerned, a platform by Audioboom Group PLC (LSE: BOOM.L) is the audio equivalent of the YouTube, the most popular video sharing site, and Twitter, the most popular microblogging site.

The UK-based publicly listed company is the provider of social media platform for audio producers to record either live or from the studio, upload and share the audio by syndication and social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

By tapping these social media sites, audience reach expands dramatically since the popular microblogging site and favourite social media site have millions or even billions of followers in different parts of the world.

At present, Audioboom has about 2,000 content channels from the initial 19 channels during the platform's launch in March 2013, said Rob Proctor, company CEO. Audioboom currently has 2.5 million registered users and 12 to13 million monthly active users across platforms.

Torre added that while Twitter may still represent a small percentage of the overall human population, as a promotional tool, it is a very effective one, which explains why he had to constantly check his Twitter feeds from time to time while covering the World Cup games.

"That's why every journalist, really, is monitoring Twitter while they're monitoring the game because you're getting news, you're getting information, you're getting jokes. And really, Twitter feels like a sports bar," Torre said.

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