Live From FIFA World Cup: Fox Sports’ Social Team Sees Big-Time Success With Twitter Show, SnapChat
Lean team churns out wealth of content driving major engagement across numerous platforms
The Fox Sports digital and social team here in Russia at the 2018 FIFA World Cup may be lean, but it packs one heck of a punch.
The largest linear-television production in the history of the company is truly testing the limits of the entire company, and that means a level of social output unlike anything the network has done before. That means content across all the major social-media platforms: Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram.
There was a lengthy stretch during the Group stage when, for 20-hour windows per day, a fresh social post went up (on average) every 10 minutes.
“We want people to know that the World Cup is happening even if it’s happening half a world away,” says Michael “Janko” Jankolovits, senior director, video content, production, Fox Sports, who is located at the IBC in Moscow. “We’re not going to stop putting out content.”
FIFA World Cup Now, Fox Sports’ Twitter-exclusive show has proved to be a winner and is only picking up steam as the tournament rolls into the Knockout Stages. The nightly, half-hour program has racked up 4.8 million views (as of July 1) and logged its second-best day over the weekend with 381,000 views. Also, “90 In 90,” — a 90-second recap of each match, which is a segment of the A block of FIFA World Cup Now — has picked up more than 56 million views across numerous social platforms (as of July 1).
Hosted by Rachel Bonetta, FIFA World Cup Now grew out of a direct partnership with the social-media platform and tasked Fox Sports with coming up with a unique show with a social-friendly slant to recap the day’s action.
“I actually wanted it to be an extension of everything that was being done on broadcast television,” says Janko. “It’s a little bit counter-intuitive from what we typically try to do on the digital side, but this operation is so big and so impressive, why would we reinvent the wheel when all of the [production] is going to be so state-of-the-art? Rachel really is our difference maker. She’s dynamic, savvy on digital and social media, and connects to that coveted younger audience.”
Fox Sports’ Snapchat efforts have also been fruitful, the stories pulling in more than 20 million unique viewers in the U.S. (as of July 1), 70% of which are users under the age of 25. Two Snapchat staffers are onsite, mostly roaming throughout Moscow acquiring content, but they have dedicated office space in Fox Sports’ portion of the IBC.
According to Janko, Fox Sports Digital has a new team actually dedicated to creating stories for Snapchat.
Fox Sports Digital has digital rights to highlights of the event it is covering, which is not typically the case. The rights may apply to only two minutes’ worth of coverage per day, but that allows the team to produce the “90 In 90” segment and save the extra 30 seconds for other event content, such as funny or socially engaging moments.
It certainly hasn’t stopped Fox Sports from using loads of the digital content and what’s made available through Host Broadcast Services’ FIFA MAX content funnel provided to all rightsholders. Fox Sports has been posting furiously across all platforms.
The onsite social team at both the IBC and the Fox Sports set in Red Square features Janko, along with tech ops and graphic producer Daniela Mayock, editors Fernando Cardoso and Ben Wesorick, Bonnetta, and talent producer/writer Ryan Kurutz.