I must say that I'm really impressed with ESPN's coverage of the World Cup. Not just the quality of the commentary but also the fact that they've been able to cover all the matches across multiple media, plus cover Wimbledon and the 2010 College World Series as well.
1) The World Cup's Lessons in Narrative and Marketing: Justin Fox (HBR)
By way of a prolonged attack on basketball in general and New York basketball in particular, Justin Fox wonders if ESPN hasn't missed an opportunity with its coverage to help viewers latch onto all the great stories that the World Cup generates--"The national epics, team dramas, individual Bildungsromans. And of course referee-induced tragedies. Lots of those." He thinks ESPN has played it too straight. Personally, I'm happy that ESPN hasn't gone the NBC route with its endless backstories. But I can see his point. Maybe there's a happy medium. P.S. The ESPN: USA-Algeria game was the largest US audience ever for a sports event online. 1.1m unique viewers spent avg 43 minutes watching.
2) Mahut v Isner Haiku: Wimblewords
It's tough to compete with the World Cup but Wimbledon found a way to grab some attention. In first round action, John Isner (USA) and Nicholas Mahut (FR) played the longest game in tennis history. This epic encounter lasted for more than 11 hours of play over three days with Isner eventually winning 6-4, 3-6, 6-7, 7-6, 70-68. Just an incredible sporting event.
Matt Harvey, Wimbledon's official Poet in Residence, captured the feeling at the end of the second day (when the score was tied at (only!) 59-59 in the fifth) with this haiku:
high performance play
all day yet still no climax
it's tantric tennisIn this post, he invites readers to post their own Haiku as well. Readers have responded with examples like: songs will long be sung_of their battle on court 18_finished but not done. Indeed.
3) Andy Murray Tennis Street Magic: headtennis (via brandflakesforbreakfast)
Sticking with tennis. We ask: Is it Henman hill. Or Murray mound? Is this video real? Or is it fake? OK. Too many questions. It's a great video by Head and, if you like the song, it's here: www.head.com/tennis.
4) Get your World Cup kit on! What's up below deck? (Landor)
“We have 1.5 billion people in China, yet we can’t find 11 people that can kick a bloody football.” That was the frustration expressed by a Chinese friend of Ray Ally's who blames it on the one-child policy and the non-team-oriented "little emperors" that have been the result. Despite the absence of a Chinese team and the fact that the games start late at night, the World Cup is hugely popular in China--In a recent survey, 45% of people in Beijing said that they put football ahead of their work.
5) Nike's Not a World Cup Sponsor, but It's Stealing the Show: AdvertisingAge
Whenever there is a worldwide sports event, whether that be the Olympics or the World Cup, there's always a separate game going on--the one between the official sponsors of the event and those who want to crash the party. This time it's Adidas, official sponsor vs. Nike, playing the ambushing role. According to AdvertisingAge, Nike is winning. It has the biggest uptick in positive consumer perceptions based on its "Write the Future" ad and its relationships with several of the star players.
6) WRITE THE FUTURE: Nike Football
And here's the full length version of that ad in case you haven't seen it. No Wayne babies yet but if he scores the goal that beats Germany, there will be.
That's it! Back soon with more stories from the world of brand strategy. More thoughts and comments also available on Twitter (@martinjbishop).
Photo: World's Favorite Sport by vramak (Flickr)