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Why Do So Few Supporters Tweet At Football Grounds?


When I launched EPL Talk in 2005, my initial vision for the site was that it would be highly interactive and would embrace technology to bring English football supporters closer together. The main feature at that time was an online chat that would be hosted every weekend so that website visitors could chat at the same time they were watching Premier League matches, no matter where they lived in the world.

While the EPL Talk Chat, as it was named, became quite successful in the beginning, the concept of marrying interactivity with football grew to include other ideas such as live Flickr streams being beamed in from football grounds around England as well as text messages displayed on a web page to help football supporters find out what was happening at the grounds.

That vision of mixing streaming photographs and text messages from football grounds around England never happened. Reason being is that I wasn’t able to find enough football supporters willing to send texts and pictures from their mobile phones.

But that dream cropped up again for me recently thanks to the meteoric rise of Twitter.

However, if you’re on Twitter, you’ll know that there are far too few updates from football grounds as you would imagine. Why is that? I posed the question on Twitter, and here are some of the most interesting responses:





Now let me add that I don’t expect football supporters who are at Premier League games to tweet while the match is going on. But it would be interesting to get their perspective on what’s happening at the ground before and after the match, as well as at half-time. TV signals pick up a lot of the action, but there’s often plenty more storylines that happen at the games that we miss such as the mood among supporters, skirmishes outside football grounds, what the atmosphere is like in the ground and so on.

Based on the responses above, it looks like the cellular coverage isn’t strong enough to handle a ton of football supporters sending tweets, text messages or pictures from grounds — which is a shame.

So much for my dream, but hopefully the cellular coverage will improve over the next few years where these things can happen more reliably.

If you don’t already, be sure to follow EPL Talk on Twitter.

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  1. eplnfl

    September 23, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    Seems to be the problem in both the US & Uk that once the crowd fills up the stadium then cell phone congestion takes place. I have tried to tweet from USMNT games in Chicago but with little luck. 60,000 people at the game in downtown Chicago is the reason.

  2. timmyg

    September 23, 2009 at 10:26 am

    the same thing happens at NFL games, where the 15 minutes in between plays people attempt to surf the web on their blackberrys and iphones but cannot because of everyone doing it at the same time. bill simmons recently wrote about this.

    and also, i’d find that i wouldn’t want to take my eye off the action for footy and tweet something if i was at a match. basketball, hockey and american football all have numerous breaks and even tv time outs (yay integrity of the game!), whereas baseball is just slow in its nature.

  3. Mike

    September 23, 2009 at 10:17 am

    More people probably don’t twitter from matches because they might not actually like twitter.

  4. @philn1

    September 23, 2009 at 9:27 am

    Despite my comment above I do tweet occasionally, usually a photo of the view from the away end or something similar. I’ll see what the cellular networks are like in Belarus and try to send something from my trip to the Dinamo Stadium in Minsk next week!

    • The Gaffer

      September 23, 2009 at 9:35 am

      Thanks Phil. I’m following you on Twitter now, so I’ll definitely RT your pics and tweets from Minsk and elsewhere.

      The Gaffer

  5. CFTV

    September 23, 2009 at 8:00 am

    All good things in all good times as I expect cell phone reception around grounds across the world will get better as more and more people are wireless and complaints to the clubs rise that they fans are unable to get ahold of family members or mates at the grounds. It is probably something not at to the top of clubs lists to fix but it is something I would expect to happen as our world has become more and more wireless.

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