ITV launch World Cup plans by naming pundits and influencers for the tournament

ITV have launched their World Cup by naming the pundits who will be joining the likes of presenters Mark Pougatch and Jacqui Oatley in Russia this summer.

Alongside the popular Gary Neville – best known on-screen for his work with Sky Sports – Slaven Bilic – who charmed ITV’s audience at Euro 2016 – Patrice Evra, Martin O’Neill and plenty more will all be on the broadcaster’s panels for the tournament which kicks off in exactly one month’s time.

Many fans will be enthused to see the breadth of punditry on offer, with some recognisable names as well faces fresh to punditry getting in on the action.

There is another name which takes pride of place in the broadcaster’s Monday afternoon announcement, though, and that’s the F2Freestylers.

Russia 2018

The immensely popular YouTubers, who have over 7.5m subscribers on the video platform, will also be a big part of ITV’s World Cup coverage. According to the broadcaster’s announcement, they will “recreate some of the tournament’s iconic moments including great goals, pieces of skill and famous celebrations,” in the build-up to the big kick-off according to the announcement. And when the tournament finally arrives, they will turn their attention to recreating the best moments of this World Cup finals.

It promises to be the most digitally active World Cup ever. That is perhaps not saying much given digital media is even more prevalent now than it was four years ago. But it is interesting that ITV appear to be leaning even more heavily than usual on social media and digital.

Not only are the F2Freestylers booked to play a big role on the broadcaster’s social media coverage, but there will also be an ITV World Cup daily podcast offering for fans to consume even more on-demand content around the tournament as the broadcaster appear to be taking a much more circumspect view of the whole digital media landscape.

The BBC, as ever, will take the other half of the games, and their coverage is likely to include plenty of digital media output, too. It looks like this World Cup will be chock full of on-demand content on social media, digital video platforms and podcasts as well as the live games themselves. Four weeks of wall-to-wall football is only a month away.

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Chris McMullan
Chris McMullan 810 posts

Chris is a sports journalist and editor of Digital Sport - follow him on Twitter @CJMcMullan_

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