FIFA World Cup 2018 winner revealed … and it’s not Germany, Brazil or Spain

June 12, 2018 11:06 am

When the first whistle blows on the World Cup pitch in Russia, all eyes will be on the game, players and the minutes ticking by in incremental agony.

But at the 2018 World Cup, social media engagement might be the biggest spectacle, as literally, billions will be online for a number of reasons, from forecasting who will win to analyzing on the pitch drama as it unfolds in play or afterward.

Read: Brands, what do you know about the FIFA World Cup audience?


Euromonitor, one of the world’s leading provider of strategic research, shared with AMEinfo a report saying the business of professional sports is evolving, rapidly driven by unprecedented technological advances and a consumer desire for “experiential” over “material”.

The fabric of what makes sports, leagues, and teams commercially competitive is shifting.

“As crucial as match-day spend is, the impact of a strong global social media footprint is becoming an increasingly important driver of overall team valuation, as it shows commercial potential beyond the physical confines of a stadium.”

“Performance on the pitch and commercial success off the pitch are not mutually exclusive. The challenge is putting a price on loyalty, attention and commercial engagement and summing these in a way that translates into an overall appetite for sports and leagues.”

Developments in video streaming infrastructure and the growth of mobile connectivity is opening new broadcasting doors to a range of sports stakeholders, much of which pivots on sustained mass engagement across popular social media platforms with a digital reach.

Read: Brands, which country is most gripped by FIFA World Cup fever?

Social vs over the air

In 2017, Twitter announced a number of innovative partnerships with sports leagues to drive user growth across the platform. This includes a deal with the NFL to roll out game highlights along with live streaming, a deal with the PGA tour and a commitment to live-stream 15 eSports tournaments along with 1500 hours of online gaming from a number of partners.

Attracting sports fans to premium, accessible content on these platforms is the bedrock of this growth strategy.

BBC Sport’s social media channels will keep more than 30 million fans in touch with breaking news, action and funnier moments from Russia.

“Throughout the tournament, in-match updates and breaking news will be available on Twitter, highlights from every BBC game on YouTube, daily World Cup stories available on Snapchat, a mixture of news and video action on Facebook, plus former England star and Arsenal player Alex Scott will host a series of Instagram stories ensuring audiences never miss a moment of what’s happening both on and off the pitch,” said BBC recently.

Barbara Slater, director, BBC Sport, said: “The BBC prides itself on being the home of big sporting events and we are committed to delivering the best all-around coverage across TV, radio, and digital of the World Cup 2018. This event deserves expert comment, analysis and insight and our unrivaled line-up of presenters, pundits and commentators are sure to engage viewers and listeners as excitement builds throughout the tournament.”

Read: Did the UAE have a chance at making the World Cup and blew it?

Table courtesy of Around the Rings

Salah and Egypt

Egyptian superstar Mohamed Salah, who has been linked with a switch to Real Madrid, and reportedly is set to become one of the 10 highest earners in the Premier League.

According to the Daily Mirror, the Reds (Liverpool) want to offer the 25-year-old a new contract worth $270,588 Dollar, which would make him one of the 10 highest earners in the league.

Mohamed Salah, scorer of 44 Premier League goals, has been included in Egypt’s provisional 29-man squad for the World Cup, but his injury in the Champion’s League Final against Real Madrid still has fans and followers jittery over his chances of playing healthy or playing at all.

Table courtesy of Around the Rings 

VIDEO: One of these 5 countries will win the World Cup 2018, including KSA?

Online’s version of the Golden Boot

The Golden Ball and Golden Boot are the coveted individual awards of the World Cup, but who will win the unofficial competition to snag the most social media ‘likes’ during the tournament?, asked NewsHub.

“More than eight billion digital interactions are expected during the FIFA World Cup in Russia, equal to every person in the world liking content or commenting on social media,” said the online news site.

More than one billion people follow World Cup players on Instagram.

“With more than 128 million followers on Instagram, Cristiano Ronaldo is the most-followed World Cup player and is a strong contender for the most popular post.”

Five-time winners Brazil are the most followed team in the tournament with  192 million combined followers.


Hadi Khatib
By Hadi Khatib
Hadi Khatib is a business editor with more than 15 years' experience delivering news and copy of relevance to a wide range of audiences. If newsworthy and actionable, you will find this editor interested in hearing about your sector developments and writing about it.