Many of us will wake up on Monday morning feeling slightly depressed that the 2009-10 Premier League season is over. All that’ll remain from the English football season will be the FA Cup Final, Europa League Final and playoff matches in the Football League. Not to diminish those exciting events, but many of us will be keeping one eye on the upcoming World Cup which will be just 32 days away.
I’m particularly excited about the 2010 World Cup because of the advancements in technology. This will be the first World Cup in HD. It’ll be the first Twitter World Cup. And technically the first Facebook World Cup. And, don’t forget, it’ll be the first World Cup for Apple iPhone users. The amount of information at our finger tips will be awesome and overwhelming at the same time. It’s going to be the most plugged-in World Cup in the history of the sport. A large part of that is because of the Internet.
It seems bizarre to think that it was only four years ago that the 2006 tournament was the first real time that the Internet embraced the World Cup. In 2002, the web was still reeling from the post dot-com bubble disaster. Plus the time difference between Asia and North America was horrible. We were lucky enough to watch the games in the middle of the night, let alone switch on the computer to follow the news. Four years prior to that, in 1998, the Internet was still so new that America Online (AOL) as well as Compuserve and other ISPs were our destinations. And any information we could glean about the World Cup was a precious commodity.
Thinking back, the 2006 World Cup was a trendsetter for a few different reasons. It was the birth of The Guardian’s daily The World Cup Show podcast starring James Richardson. The show would later morph into Football Weekly, one of the best soccer podcasts in the business. It was also a summer when I would argue that football blogs were born, or became massively popular. The two shining examples at the time were the BBC’s World Cup 2006 Blog and FoxSoccer.com‘s brilliant blog posts from their team who were on the ground in Germany. Fox’s bloggers extraordinaire that summer included Jamie Trecker, Nick Webster, Oliver Hinz and, back in North America, Bobby McMahon.
Other than those two blogs, The Guardian podcast and Phil McThomas’s trusty Soccer Shout podcast, and BBC’s Sport section, that was pretty much the lion share of sites I visited that glorious summer. Contrast that with this summer and the sheer quantity and quality of sites, blogs, iPhone apps, Facebook, Twitter and TV coverage, and you can quickly see how 2010 will be the biggest World Cup ever because people will be more connected. It’ll be everywhere.
But just as many of you have begun to make your plans regarding where and how you’ll watch the World Cup (if you haven’t, don’t worry — our sister site WorldCupBuzz.com will be providing plenty of helpful articles to guide you through the tournament), have you thought about what online destinations will you be visiting this summer to find the news, stories and analysis that you’ll crave? If you were a soccer fan during the 2006 World Cup, will the sites you visit this summer be different than four years ago or will you go back to those classics? Do you envision yourself consuming more of your World Cup news and content via mobile phone this summer?
Please share your valuable insight with me and the readers of EPL Talk in the comments section below. And feel free to share your memories of following previous World Cups online and what the experience was like. We’ve certainly come a long way.