Snapchat offers fans a new dimension to engage and celebrate during this football season
Posted on 2022 Oct,18  | By Vishal Badiani

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With the football season already underway and the high anticipation for the upcoming world cup, Vishal Badiani, Head of Creative Strategy for MENA at Snap Inc. elaborates about how the platform is offering football fans a new dimension to engage and celebrate their favourite sport.

As far as sport goes, there isn’t anything which really brings people together more. Without betraying my age too much, the only time I remember ever watching football with my mum was England’s penalty shoot-out heartbreak in the semi-finals at Italia ‘90. After all, you might not always remember exactly what happened, but you always remember who you were with.

There’s a universal feeling of excitement, and unsurprisingly, amongst most Arabic football fans, the levels have already reached fever pitch. For the Middle East and particularly the GCC, Snapchat continues to be one of the primary platforms people use to meet, share and celebrate with their friends and loved ones. When this historic tournament kicks off - and we start seeing penalty shoot-outs, red cards, upsets and wonder goals - it’s likely to be the first place they’ll go to, when these new moments in history unfold before our very eyes. Research has shown 83% of football fans use their phone while watching TV, with fans messaging their friends and engaging with content throughout the game.

Whether they’re celebrating or commiserating with friends, following favourite players and teams, watching match highlights, playing with and sharing immersive football AR experiences, or kitting out their bitmoji in their favourite team’s kit, Snapchat knows fans - and we will help them share these moments together. After all, we’ll all want to remember where we were if Saudi beats Argentina or Qatar beats Holland, and more importantly, who we were with.

Snapchat's in-app content platforms power the ultimate fan experience. Snapchat Discover publishes the best sports highlights and moments from major broadcasters, digital publishers, leagues, teams and players. Snapchat Discover and Spotlight are currently used by major sports broadcasters such as beIN Sports to host FIFA highlights and behind-the-scenes content during the football season. Snapchat has partnered with the Spanish football league La Liga to launch Discover Show, Spotlight page, AR experiences, Cameos and Bitmoji. Over 200 million people watched sports content on Snapchat in 2021.

Augmented reality is the next great leap in sports broadcast. Snap's AR technology is giving sports fans new and previously unimaginable ways to be part of the football experience - from using an AR Face Lens to showing their support for teams to virtually trying on a football kit and learning about footballers through AR education lenses. During the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Snap created a body-tracking AR Lens, which encouraged fans to stay active and embrace the spirit of the games.

Football teams, publishers, sports associations and brands can easily use our AR technology to enhance the fan experience, our AR Face Lenses are currently used by some of the world’s biggest clubs, including Manchester City FC, Real Madrid FC and Barcelona FC. Through the Snap camera, football fans can try on official kits without visiting a changing room. Fans can also virtually dress their Bitmoji in the official home and away football kits of their favorite teams, thanks to partnerships with Adidas and Nike. For the 2018 football season, Snapchat teamed up with Nike and Adidas to create themed kits to help football fans show their support during the tournament.

Fans can also engage directly with their favorite stars on Snapchat. Some of the biggest footballers are Snap Stars, where they share authentic behind-the-scenes content with their followers. These include Jesse Lingard, Nottingham Forest and England Men's National team player and, Alex Iwobi, Everton FC and Nigeria Men's National Team.

All these experiences open up immense opportunities for marketers to connect with a highly engaged audience.

Research commissioned by Snap and conducted by market research company Alter Agents in 2021, including Saudi Arabia and the UAE, highlighted the marketing potential for sports-related brands on Snapchat. According to the study, 69% of Snapchatters say sharing content through Snapchat makes their sports experience more fun. Almost all (95%) feel positive while watching sports-related content on Snapchat. Nearly half (49%) of those aware of AR would likely purchase using a sports AR experience. Further, 58% of Snapchatters are interested in live AR experiences hosted by brands.

Broadcast and sports have a long and mutually beneficial history. But the new generation of fans are not merely passive spectators; they want to be part of the experience. Snapchat's Chat, AR Lenses, Calls, Friends Stories, or Bitmoji avatars are how these fans stay true to their sport and where teams and brands can support this loyalty.