Computing Profession

On FIFA World Cup 2010: Football and Internet in Latin America

Drummond Ltd. Systems engineer Carlos A. Brewer R.


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June 2010, the ball is on the center of the field, arena is full with fans waiting for the first kick-off, then a player of South Africa national team kicks the ball, the World Cup has officially started, and all forecasts will be tested. In last scenario, traditionally media starts its coverage. However this World Cup started in the cyberspace the same moment the previous one held in Alemania in 2006 finished.

 The Internet has surpassed traditional media in terms of sports coverage since the last 10 years and a little more; no other media allows the user such real time interaction and real time information, and this is what most sport fans search for (as a fan you want to know how a game develops minute by minute), the advent of such devices as smartphones with high speed connections allowed fans all over the world to connect and watch live action, check up to date statistics, and more.

When talking about sports, specifically football, you have to mention Latin America, no single general football discussion would be complete without mentioning countries like Brazil and Argentina, players as Messi and Kaka, stadiums like the “Maracana” or “La Bombonera,” and so forth, and this is just a small piece of information related to football and Latin America; Latin fans are always looking for more and more information about their favorite sports and Latin Web sites know this.

Right now a sport fan could easily found more than 100 Web sites dedicated to sports (and this could be a conservative number) neither in Spanish or Portuguese, most of them (I would say 90%) are mostly concentrated on the coming World Cup; however, as stated at the beginning of this post, may of these Web sites started their coverage four years ago, delivering the facts of this event day per day using RSS and other services as well–for example Tweeter, and more.

Most of these Web sites are now full of information related to the World Cup, info that previously was only available to certain people, and was difficult to find in these latitudes, such as game statistics, game economics, and more.

Videos, audio, charts, spreadsheets, even analysis on chances to survive or win a particular match; all this data is also viewable on smartphones thanks to the initial stages of Internet popularization in Latin America in such devices, and this is because the main communication companies lowered their connection costs and their plans are cheaper than ever; the World Cup is an opportunity for these companies to attract more users by means of creating promotions.

 I believe this is the first World Cup with such Internet coverage in Latin America; the previous one had some coverage, but due to the economical situation and political issues, the Internet was not so popular as is it now. Add to this the age of smartphones and you’ll end up with a never-seen-before scenario: people in airports, bus stops, reading and surfing the Internet, searching all sort of data and most of this data is related to FIFA World Cup.

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