I am giving the new Facebook ‘Like’ button a test drive and adding some social capabilities to my site. I am excited to see how it works and, more importantly, what the experience and analytics look like.
If you have a Typepad blog, you can easily add the Like button to your site by following the instructions in the link below. They are a partner and made it VERY easy.
Starting Thursday afternoon, if you are in the Beta Team, you will be able to install Facebook’s new “Like” button, and connect your blog to Facebook’s Open Graph**. This will give your readers the ability to share your blog with their friends on Facebook.
Full disclosure: I am a lifelong soccer player and fan so I had no choice but to share this!
It may happen sooner than you
think. My bet is that it starts this summer as a storm of soccer is
coming our way — and it’s only going to increase from here. With the
2010 FIFA World Cup kicking off in June in South Africa, all signs point
to soccer fever spreading throughout 2010 and beyond. Our coveted
American sports should stand up and take notice. Why? Here are 10
1. Fans: According to published
research, there are more than 75 million international soccer fans in
the United States. At a growth rate of 52% and with an increase of
devoted fans since 2005, it’s the fastest-growing avid fan base in the
country. Generally, soccer fans are also considered to be valuable and
ad-friendly consumers. More receptive consumers translate to more
sponsor dollars, which we’ve already seen in the case of marketing
powerhouses McDonald’s and Budweiser becoming FIFA World Cup Sponsors.
2. Appointment Television: The U.S. average household
delivery of international soccer events in 2008-09 was more than double
versus the previous 12 years. Look no further than the UEFA Champions
League final, which for the first time ever, surpassed the Super Bowl as
the world’s most-watched annual sporting event (approximately 109
million viewers). Sure, it’s a global number, but there’s a reason Roger
Goodell is playing NFL games in London, the NHL plays games in Sweden
and the NBA is likely to welcome its first international owner.
3. Media Rights: When ESPN gets involved, you know it means
business. Ranked by Fast Company as the most innovative company
in the sports industry, ESPN recognizes the growth potential for soccer
and even acquired the rights to broadcast English Premier League games
for the first time last year, in addition to the World Cup rights for
4. Media Distribution: According to
ESPN, all 64 matches will be aired live and in high definition on ESPN,
ESPN2 and ABC, as well as extensive coverage on ESPN360.com and ESPN
Mobile TV. Look for the World Cup to be a major player as a part of the
ESPN360.com rebranding to “ESPN 3.”
5. Media Viewership
Trends: Looking back, the 2006 World Cup had a massive
multicultural audience. More than 1.3 billion fans watched worldwide,
with more than 118 million in the United States. That figure is
comparable to either March Madness or Super Bowl viewership, and it’s
even more than the World Series or BCS.
While the list of World Cup partners and sponsors is impressive, we’re
more intrigued by the European league deals. For example, the biggest
sports sponsorship deal in the world happened last summer when
Chicago-based insurer AON Corporation committed more than $125 million
over four years to be the new primary sponsor of English soccer club,
Manchester United, beginning this year. Why? Because of the global
audience. Think about it. More than 300 million people worldwide, claim
to be fans of Manchester United — the equivalent of every man, woman
and child in America.
7. Video Game Sales:
Earlier this year, EA revealed that FIFA 10 has sold nearly 10 million
units since its launch last fall. And while Madden is king in the United
States, FIFA 10 is the industry’s top selling sports game worldwide.
With no official release date yet announced for FIFA 11, expect it to
hit stores in the fall, right in the sweet spot before Christmas and
right after the World Cup final in July.
8. The Youth
Movement: The top sustainable sports in our country have
massive financial interests at the youth development level. Baseball,
basketball and football are all considered in the group of sports
labeled America’s pastime — yet the amount of money and talent being
poured into today’s youth soccer is on a trajectory of growth unlike any
other. For example, US Youth Soccer, the nation’s largest youth sports
organization, grew from 100,000 players in 1974 to more than 1 million
in the early ’90s. Today, US Youth Soccer registers annually over 3.2
million players, ages 5 to 19.
9. Brand as Owner:
Red Bull is shaking up the sports landscape and MLS has allowed it the
freedom to so. With Red Bull Arena, the new 25,000-seat soccer stadium
in Harrison, N.J., opening just last month, it is already considered the
premier soccer stadium in the United States.
Celebrity Status: Tiger, Peyton, Kobe, LeBron — sports stars
are the new global icons. Soccer also has its shares of global super
stars, e.g., David Beckham and Ronaldinho. In 2010, look for
opportunities for new stars to breakout and/or achieve superstar status
in the United States, such as Cristiano Ronaldo. Last summer Ronaldo was
transferred to Real Madrid from Manchester United for nearly $132
million, a staggering number for any athlete in any sport. Nike, Castrol
and Armani are among just a few of his global sponsors.
common thread in all of the above is the global nature of sports,
especially evident with Futbol (soccer). I’ve always felt that modern
sports marketing is a powerful global communication platform between
“fans of sport” and corporations.
Most recently, the increased
viewership of the Vancouver Olympics over past Winter Olympics
demonstrated the increasing appetite of the global sports audience.
That’s a trend we expect to continue in 2010 with soccer fans and
sponsors reaping the benefits.