As technology develops, fans are finding different ways of engaging with their favourite sports and teams on a daily basis. During a season, changes may be seen as gradual by fans, just something new in a series of developments. However, for major international competitions that happen once every four years, the landscape is likely to have made huge advancements between tournaments.
With Euro 2016 and the Copa America Centenario being played at the same time this summer, a huge percentage of the typical World Cup audience will be captivated as fans are treated to a festival of football. The Copa America kicks off a week prior to Euro 2016, as fans will be able to switch from the end of a day’s worth of action in France to the commencement of action in the United States during the European Championship group stages, with the Copa America final taking place during the round of 16 of Euro 2016.
An IAB UK/ESPN study found that 54% of UK sports fans used another digital device whilst watching Euro 2012, as fans were using second screens heavily for sports as 68 percent of people used the extra device on Euro 2012-related activity. Of this group, 39 percent visited social networking sites in relation to the matches, 17 percent visited related websites (such as viewing tournament scores and statistics), 16 percent placed bets and 11 percent used related apps.
Since then, the use of the second screen has increased. Reportedly, 87 percent of people used more than one device at a time in 2015, with the smartphone accounting for 57 percent. It has led to competition between social media platforms to engage users. Facebook launched its Sports Stadium feature ahead of this year’s Super Bowl, Twitter regularly introduces its ‘Hashflags’ for major sporting events, and Snapchat has its Live Stories, with its dynamic Geofilters allowing Snapchatters to add real-time score updates to their photo and video Snaps to better express the excitement of the game, which are now powered by STATS.
Competition among social media platforms should come at little surprise given its boom. During the 2012 European Championships, at its peak there were seven tweets per second using #EURO2012, and more than 15,000 tweets per second were recorded by Twitter when Spain scored its fourth goal in the final, which set a then-new record for a sporting event. Entering that competition, Twitter had around 151 million monthly active users but the end of 2015 that number more than doubled to 305 million, as Facebook has also seen considerable growth over this period, allowing brands to reach customers like never before, with football content likely to be at the forefront of discussion on both platforms this summer.
Social media isn’t the only area of advancement, as fans are hungrier for information than ever before. ESPN scored big during Euro 2012 with their website offerings as page views averaged 3.5 million per day, an increase of 35% from four years before, and TSN’s Euro 2012 web-page attracted more than 10 million page views throughout the tournament. Furthermore, during the 2014 World Cup, 24 million unique users watched more than 15 million hours of content through FIFA’s multimedia solutions alone.
The importance of the second screen will only increase with advancements of technology. The use of smartphones and tablets has only increased over the last four years since Euro 2012, as more users have more options available to them when using their device – companies have improved their own platforms while others, such as those offering daily fantasy sports, have broken into the market. Euro 2016 and the Copa America Centenario are both therefore likely to see more users accessing second screen devices than the previous incarnations of each tournament, as second screen may devices also become the primary mode of engagement for many people this summer as online streaming increases.
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