Summer 2014 basically officially starts with the World Cup. Football tournaments have always been a big deal for me. Growing up in England, (foot)ball is life. Society truly does not function for the month that the World Cup or Euro tournaments are happening. I remember collecting and trading shiny football stickers during WC98 (Allez les Blues!!!). I remember watching the first half of games at home, then my dad dropping us off at school during half time and watching the 2nd half with the rest of our elementary school before starting the school day. Since moving to America, I don’t think I have experienced something where the entire country shuts down for hours during the work week. Not even for the Olympics. I miss the collaborative patriotic spirit that exists in Europe- I am fortunate enough to be from a culture that somewhat has the spirit (I’ve never watched footie in Nigeria). Being in Texas, surrounded by a lot of diversity, I kind of feel that same spirit from Hispanic cultures that also love futbol.
My education in PR, that brushes shoulders with the worlds of marketing and advertising has given me a different perspective of looking at the World Cup. I have been looking at all the ad campaigns and been paying attention to how brands are incorporating this World Cup into their own culture.
My favorite ad has to be “The Game Before the Game” from BeatsbyDre.
They are probably the only brand that could bring together different athletes and celebrities from so many different genres of pop culture. The sports brands kind of disappointed me this time around. I think this Nike ad looks weird. The Adidas with David Beckham was cute, but not epic (we love epic commercials though).
If you know me, you know that I cannot live without Twitter. I love what they are doing this World Cup. They have hashflags- once you type the hashtag of a country that is in the World Cup, the flag emoji pops up (I believe it is broken for iPhone right now. Hopefully they’ll fix it soon). Basically, countries that don’t have their own flag emojis have one now ( for example #eng spits out the English flag, not the Union Jack). You can also follow each country’s hashtag with real time game scores, get a better view of the influencers that are talking about the team and follow all the players on the team. With the hashtag #worldcup I think Twitter will do a really good job of aggregating all your World Cup social media needs. And this is how your home screen will look during games.
I really wish I were watching the BBC’s coverage- Thierry Henry, Gary Lineker and Rio Ferdinand are on the roster. At the very least, I wish beIN were showing it in the US so Ray Hudson can use his glorious gift of gab to describe the amazing-ness that the World Cup is expected to be.
Who knew Ray was also a hockey fan… wait, what?
Nate Silver, who has correctly predicted the last two presidential elections recently left the New York Times for ESPN, where he was able to start his own news org. I have been waiting all year for his statistical expertise- I don’t really understand all the numbers behind what he does, but at this point, his numbers are something that people should pay attention to. In his World Cup predictions, he has Brazil having a 45% chance of winning, followed by Argentina (13%), Germany (11%), and Spain (8%). Which is interesting, because I feel like I have been asleep on Germany. But as much as we love to bet and predict what might happen, you just never know who might decided to show up come kick-off. With that being said, I refuse to predict who is gonna win.
Who to root for??
There are obviously three countries that have a place in my heart. How can I not root for all three of them?!
Super Eagles: the country of my forefathers. The champions of Africa. During friendliest this past week, Nigeria were certainly not playing like champions. If they get it together I think that they have the potential to make it out of group stage. At the very least. It’s doable. (My dad hates their kits. They are not the right shade of green (Does Glo Mobile sponsor the Nigerian team? smh))
Do it for the Queen: England. Where do I even start. There is always a little hope that England can mess around and actually win this thing. The chances of that happening are SLIM. For England being the place that people look to as an example of footie, they need to get it together and show the world that they can keep up with the likes of Brazil and Spain ( I lol-ed while writing this sentence).
USA USA USA USA USA USA USA: So after this post I promise not to be negative about the USMNT for the rest of the World Cup. First of all, I cannot deal with the away Nike jerseys. Second, can y’all please stop crying over Landon Donovan. Third, the footie fans in America want so hard to be football hooligans. It’s not going to happen. I think that overall, the US has a really good team. I personally don’t think that they can make it out of group stage. Beating Portugal, Germany, and Ghana…. Even Jurgen needs everyone to be realistic. Good luck though. I will be waving my Star-Spangled Banner none the less.
There are so many other things I could talk about. The FIFA bribing scandal in Qatar (only $5 million)… The stadiums in Brazil not being done on time. The protests in Brazil that have been going on because of all of the glamorous celebrations that are about to go on in the midst of a society of poverty, inequality and probably some more corruption. The epic amount of human trafficking going around the World Cup (like every major sporting event). Subway employees going on strike a day before the first game in Rio… the list is endless, but darling I don’t have all day.
Well, this post has gone on long enough. So sit back. Make sure you ESPN watch app has been updated. Charge your devices. Turn on your TV. Pop a Coroner, a Fosters, a Bud, a Stella, a Heineken whatever you drink of choice is. And let the games begin.