— ESPN (@espn) June 12, 2014
The first World Cup tweet sent from the @ESPN Twitter handle generated more than 4,000 retweets and upwards of 3,700 favorites in just its first hour of being posted. It marked the official beginning of ESPN’s social media efforts that will extend through the end of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. ESPN is not only presenting the most comprehensive multiplatform World Cup coverage to date, it also will be engaging heavily in social activations both from a content and marketing perspective.
ESPN’s studio shows originating both from the U.S. and Brazil will create original social content and curate the best tweets and posts about the World Cup for use on-air. For example, World Cup Tonight and SportsCenter will introduce a real-time social touchscreen that will showcase the most prominent World Cup trends on Twitter and display related social content from international newsmakers. Segment producer Steven Roberts is based in Brazil for the entire World Cup and overseeing the touchscreen and other efforts. The @SportsCenter handle will also live-tweet all matches and collaborate with ESPNFC to share “one-play” highlight videos. Results of each match will be shared on the show’s social channels like Twitter and Facebook using custom artwork.
SportsNation’s platforms will celebrate the U.S. Men’s National Team specifically – curating, creating and sharing unique World Cup content with fans on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
“Our goal is to hear what the world is saying about the World Cup and bring those real-time trends from Twitter to TV with an interactive touchscreen that helps facilitate good discussion among the talent,” said Gabe Goodwin, coordinating producer of social production at ESPN. “Our goal on the second screen is to inform, engage and entertain in the voice fans expect from SportsCenter and SportsNation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and then drive those fans back to ESPN, ESPN.com and ESPNFC for more.”
On the marketing side, ESPN has built a “World Cup Real Time Marketing Nerve Center” in its New York office where they will monitor and measure social activity throughout each game. The social team will work side by side with creative producers and graphic artist Tyson Beck to create unique, timely content around key moments that will be shared across all @ESPN branded social platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Pinterest, Google+ and Foursquare.
“We have an unprecedented opportunity to connect with the fans during this World Cup, given the proliferation of social media since [the last World Cup] 2010,” said Seth Ader, senior director of marketing at ESPN. “In an effort to capture the energy of the tournament and reflect the audience we’re serving, we’ve transformed our basement conference room into a fully branded World Cup experience, complete with our artwork, scenes from Brazil and a soccer pitch. It’s a fantastic place to watch every match and allows us to have our fingers on the pulse of what we anticipate will be one of the most social sporting events in history.
“We’re going to communicate to our fans with real time marketing that reflects the authority and personality they expect from ESPN,” he said.
As is typical with ESPN’s digital properties, social sharing and engagement will be incorporated across all of the various websites and apps with coverage of the event including ESPN.com, ESPNFC.com and WatchESPN.
And now some of what you might have missed over the weekend from ESPN’s world. . .
— Dan Hicks (@DanHicksNBC) June 14, 2014
— Mike Hall (@BTNMikeHall) June 14, 2014
Having Ian Darke call you a "majestic operator" is basically the greatest compliment you can ever receive.
— Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) June 14, 2014
— Matt Salerno (@iMateo93) June 16, 2014
Can safely say that when I was @ESPN, the idea of presenting the NBA Finals, US Open and World Cup simultaneously was a pipe dream.
— Rich Eisen (@richeisen) June 16, 2014
— Tom W (@TotalHell) June 13, 2014
— Matt Scheerer (@PocketsDeep) June 14, 2014
ESPN commentators talking about Mabo Day on NBA finals coverage. Great moment. Mills has been huge.
— Steve Zemek (@stevezemek) June 16, 2014
— Frank Caliendo (@FrankCaliendo) June 15, 2014
Im one of the lucky ones! I was coached by the greatest man/teacher/coach to ever walk the white lines of a football field! RIP Coach Noll!
— Merril Hoge (@merrilhoge) June 14, 2014
— Alyana Alfaro (@AlyanaAlfaro) June 13, 2014
Enjoyed watching @HannahStormESPN's face to face. It's great how much great things you can do on TV when you have the time to do it.
— Harry Ruiz (@harryruiz) June 14, 2014
— Kristi (@kristideal) June 16, 2014
— David Jensen (@DavidJensen90) June 16, 2014
Bill Hofheimer and Kristen Hudak contributed to this post