ITV.com is leaping aboard the social media bandwagon to encourage realtime interaction around this afternoon’s FA Cup final between Everton and Chelsea FCs. The broadcaster has integrated updates from Twitter and our old friends AudioBoo in an FA Cup Buzz microsite.
The site uses Twitterfall to keep track of tweets about the match, with an added enhancement; a tool developed by thruSITES will track which of the players are generating the most chatter on Twitter at any given moment, with sliders for each player showing who’s the most talked about.
Fans will also be able to share their armchair commentary (and really bad jokes) using AudioBoo, a service which is rapidly becoming a darling of the mainstream media for making it so easy to transform an audience from passive consumers to active participants.
After the match, fans will be able to scrub along a timeline in the thruSITES buzz tracker to see which players caused most response at crucial moments – a sort of crowdsourced, visual post-match highlights package which, from the other perspective, will give the clubs a direct tap into public sentiment around their players.
A viewers’ backchannel is not a new thing – just watch the hashtags trend when Britain’s Got Talent or The Apprentice is on. However, this is possibly the first time a British broadcaster has attempted to integrate the backchannel into its online coverage. It’ll be interesting to see if any cross-channel promotion will be in place, i.e. if the TV commentators will direct viewers to contribute to the FA Cup Buzz site.
Dominic Cameron, MD of ITV.com, says that if the FA Cup Buzz experiment is a success, the broadcaster will be looking for more “new and interesting ways” to engage football fans.
Meanwhile, if all this engagement isn’t enough to slake your ADD-driven thirst for social media sports apps to distract you from the match, you can play along with Football3s, a realtime fantasy football game developed by Mint Digital, which also integrates with Twitter, Facebook and Chatzy.
Enjoy the match!