The Interactive UEFA EURO: Fan Engagement with Social Media

By Angelo Fernandez | @angelobfs

The UEFA European Football Championship, or EURO for short, is the main football competition of the men's national football teams governed by UEFA (the Union of European Football Associations). The competition is held every four years in the even-numbered year between World Cup tournaments. This tournament has been around for quite some time, starting in 1960, but they have stayed up to date on the technological front as proven by their use of social media and their innovative website.

The site features the Tournament Map, an interactive guide to UEFA EURO 2012. The map shows all teams and scheduled games but allows fans to show only the games in which their favorite teams play. This customization is a great way to appeal to each specific fan without leaving anyone out.

UEFA.com will be the comprehensive online resource with coverage of the tournament in 12 languages but they will also be using a variety of platforms throughout the tournament. This year fans will have more opportunities than ever to get involved on the site as well as on Facebook, Foursquare, Google+, Twitter and YouTube. The website will adapt itself to the user's wishes by taking the tournament to fans on social media and by inviting everyone to contribute to UEFA's live coverage.

Video coverage during the event will include live match streaming coverage and on-demand coverage of all 31 matches, live streaming of press conferences, free match highlights, and a daily video podcast, while news and interview coverage will also be offered on the official UEFA YouTube channel. And users who use the Fans Area can show their support, share event photos, tag themselves in match Fancams, play for their country and voice their opinion.

Fans will also help set the site agenda by asking players and key figures their questions in the continuing #Ask feature that has already featured Xavi Hernández, Steve McManaman and Christian Karembeu this year. There is also an official UEFA EURO 2012 mobile app from UEFA and Orange, which is available free on eight mobile platforms including iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry, Bada, and Java, and a mobile-friendly site at m.uefa.com.

Spain and Denmark have banned their squad from using Twitter during the tournament. A few other national teams have given their players limited privileges and the rest of the teams haven't announced their social media policy. But even if players aren't allowed to use Twitter during the tournament, that won't stop you from seeing which players are being talked about most on Twitter thanks to the "Popularity" tab on the EURO website.

The EURO is taking full advantage of social media by incorporating many innovative tools that are geared to keep fans entertained and engaged on their website and various platforms. The numbers may not quite reflect the jaw-dropping social media numbers from the 2010 World Cup but the EURO is already taking Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other platforms by storm starting since launching Friday, June 8th, so consider yourself warned.