FOX Soccer’s MatchTrax: A Big Score for Fans on Social
Blood, sweat, and tears have already been shed at this year’s World Cup and this comes to us as no surprise because even those of us who aren’t fully educated on the rules of soccer enjoy a good competition of countries. No matter our level of involvement, we each have a team to root for. Recognizing that these games attract both die-hard and casual audiences, FOX Soccer partnered with Spredfast to create a social sporting experience that everyone can enjoy. Recently we spoke with Jamie Trecker, Editor in Chief at FOX Soccer to hear his take on the all encompassing social destination.
Aside from actually giving away tickets to Brazil, FOX Soccer has done everything to make fans feel connected to the World Cup with the creation of MatchTrax - a comprehensive second screen activation. Where to even begin with this gold mine of social, soccer greatness? Let’s start with something we’re all fired up about - which team is everyone’s favorite? Based on conversations happening on Twitter, two teams are pinned against each other in a ‘Hash Clash’ battle for visitors to observe or join the discussion. In such a highly anticipated event, people take this sort of team spirit seriously. “Soccer fans are passionate” said Trecker “And this [HashClash] gives us an accurate snapshot of what people are thinking." With the big USA vs Belgium game this week, we’re excited to see which team the world is rooting for more.
A Tug of War bar displays the two team’s popularity in the Twittersphere.
MatchTrax continues to involve audiences with the game commentary section. This space, which “appears to be the most popular part of the page right now” according to Trecker, displays social content coming straight from the big names in the soccer world. US Soccer, Katie Nolan, and sports columnist Leander Schaerlaeckens are among the names that MatchTrax pulls social content from for commentary.
The feed also correlates with the ‘Match DNA Timeline’ so fans can follow commentary as the game progresses or re-live their favorite moments by clicking on any of the white dots on the timeline to see corresponding discussion. “We can really go and pluck some of the best stuff on the web and present it to our viewers,” said Trecker. “Before we weren’t able to do that in such an eloquent fashion.” Say you had to leave the bar to answer a phone call and come back to find the room in an uproar - looking at MatchTrax you’re assured to find the related red flag that instigated the riot. “This is a huge tool that goes along with FOX’s entire integrated plan to lead sports.”
On MatchTrax “people are playing with everything” said Trecker, but putting aside all the bells and whistles of the page, “people are amazed that we can put such a powerful tool at their fingertips.” The timeline API fitted by Spredfast allows for content from everywhere to be found the moment it’s created, then funneled into the stream in real-time so fans can see what’s happening and interact. Every 10 seconds the commentary section is refreshed with new material.
With so many people watching soccer, Trecker wants MatchTrax to be “the first place people go when they look at sports,” and that starts with delivering readily available content to guide subsequent conversation. As a result, “engagement with the page has been incredible” said Trecker, and not only are people staying on the page - they’re returning for the next round of games that occur.
FOX Sports has always been a trusted provider for an in-game match experience and this year’s World Cup is no exception. Even though they’re not the official host of this year’s game, MatchTrax shows the network’s commitment to the sport and the game as a whole. “We’ve put a lot of effort into this to serve the fan first and foremost,” said Trecker. Apparently the network’s efforts haven’t gone by unnoticed as Trecker noted, “engagement has been incredible.”
FOX Soccer is making “a quantum leap forward” with this activation, but according to Trecker “there’s still a lot to come.” Their cutting-edge engagement will only continue to advance as the network will have exclusive rights to the next four World Cup tournaments starting in 2015. Excited to see what they do next? Follow FOX Soccer Trax on Twitter to get the real-time soccer scoop!