I spoke a few months ago about the need for football clubs (and all sports teams) to ensure that their stadium was optimised for matchday social media. At the time, I made a point of raising the issue that many fans simply cannot update their Facebook or Twitter account with realtime matchday content, mainly due to the lack of signal or connection within a stadium. I argued,
‘Fans like to do things as they wait for kick-off, they like to upload a photo from their seat to Facebook, they like to use geo-check in to let their friends know they are at the game. Similarly, many like to report goals and incidents from the stadium to media and message boards worldwide. But they can’t do any of that if the stadium’s WiFi or 3G is severely over-burdened to the point it no longer works’
So, I was delighted to hear that Barcelona had recognised this issue and were trying to rectify the problem (Credit to @TomFaller for spotting this). The worlds largest football club announced on their official site that they had teamed up with telecommunications giant Telefonica, in order to,
‘make FC Barcelona’s stadium the first venue to be used to test and improve new wireless and networked technologies to improve telephone coverage and provide the finest access for the use of social networks’
Over the next 3 years, the two will work alongside each another to ensure that the famous Camp Nou stadiumhas the very latest technology to ensure that Barcelona’s huge social media presence can communicate straight from all the action on a matchday.
It’s no secret that Barcelona ‘get’ sports social media, but this is an excellent example for other clubs. Real social media isn’t about broadcasting to your fans, but getting your fans talking and working with each another. What better place for them to talk about their club than during a matchday, in the stadium!
I do hope that clubs closer to me in the UK take notice and perhaps work with their local telecommunication providers to ensure that their matchday experience isn’t spoilt by lack of signal. Luckily for Barca, they haven’t had to pay a penny for this!