Official World Cup site under fire

Fifa’s official World Cup site, produced by Yahoo!, has come under criticism from Forrester Research. The analyst house says that it offers no support for national emotions or inconvenient game times.

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By  Neil Denslow Published  June 6, 2002

Fifa’s official World Cup site, produced by Yahoo!, has come under criticism from Forrester Research. The analyst house says that it offers no support for national emotions or inconvenient game times.

For the duration of the competition, Yahoo! is producing near-identical global sites in seven different languages. This keeps production costs down, but Forrester says the sites lose out to national players who can tailor their offerings to one market.

“FIFA and Yahoo! have to compete for eyeballs with the strong local brands like l’Equipe in France and the real-time streaming audio coverage of Italian RAI. The official FIFA site can’t match these titans, as it fails to support national emotions,” explains analyst Diana Janssen.

Furthermore, the site is doing little to help fans overcome the inconvenient kick-off times. For instance, the VIP Club does not cater to fans until 17.30 (Central European Time), by which point most office workers have gone home.

“The original deal to delay online videos till hours after each game was constructed out of a fear of losing TV viewers, but the facts show that, in general, active Net users don’t watch less TV. FIFA and KirchMedia [owners of the World Cup TV rights] should use the site to whet the appetite of office-trapped fans and draw them to their TV sets after work. By allowing the national sports sites that do attract the fans to link to the FIFA site, everybody wins — more eyeballs at FIFA, more revenues from the streaming video for KirchMedia, and a better service to the fans from local sites. On the back of the deal, large advertisers can sign multi-country contracts and national brands can spend on local advertising,” concludes Janssen.

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