What a depressing week for lovers of football. What a sorry, sad, insane mess played out by fools and halfwits. Ordinarily, the focus would have been on the big game, Arsenal v. Chelsea. Instead, this weekend, our interest in the game will be for all the wrong reasons. So, instead, I have decided to focus on the American version of football, which reaches its colossal climax on Sunday. I hanker after the hype, showmanship and ballyhoo of the Super Bowl.
US and UK sport have always been different – from the amount of body armour the Americans wear to play what amounts to rugby to the way the world views the different sports on each side of the Atlantic. Whatever your view of American sport, however, there is no doubt they are well ahead of the game when it comes to using social media in cahoots with big sports events.
You only have to take a cursory look at this year’s Super Bowl to see the difference – this is the year that “social media and the Super Bowl are officially converging” apparently; the year when advertisers, fans, athletes and the NFL are all weighing in with a social media slew of information, opinion and advertising. Twitter is inundated with Super Bowl tweets. And this is for an event that is already swathed in pageantry and hype in the non-digital media.
British sport, by contrast, has only managed to set the social media world alight with the sorry sexual shenanigans of John Terry, the (now ex-) England football captain. And this is in a World Cup year, when you’d hope that the advertisers, fans and athletes would converge in a similar manner to the Americans behind their sport, to push the first vaguely successful football team England’s had in ages towards winning big in South Africa.
But no; the only major trending topic at the moment is Terry’s greed and sex life. In Britain, sport and social media are seemingly united only in gossip, the end result of which is most likely to be the England squad torn apart at the seams.