Weekly Wrap: The end of the transfer window and a change of tack from Facebook

The end of the transfer window is a fevered few days of rumour, innuendo and often downright silliness.

We’ve seen transfer announcements go viral on Twitter and plenty innovation all summer, but – as was the case for most of the window – once again, Italian side AS Roma stole the show, not just with their anti-transfer videos but with the definitive round-up of the best of the summer.

At a much different end of the footballing glamour scale, though, it’s easy to forget that there’s also some great work going on that doesn’t usually get much coverage. Viral videos and social media innovation is one thing, but actually enhancing experiences for fans should always be the bread and butter for sports teams in general.

This week, League One side Bury announced that they are now providing their fans with free WiFi at their stadium in a move that fans of all clubs would love to see rolled out as standard at football games.

It’s a big task to put WiFi in a stadium, and it is especially difficult to create a connection that works properly and seamlessly, but a football ground remains one of the few places where internet connection is often almost-impossible to get. All the while, if you watch at home on the TV with a phone in your hand, it’s never been easier to find stats and insight on the game you’re watching at the touch of a button. This is a world where physically going to the game these days can mean missing out at times.

Reinforcing the fact that internet connections and sport are now going hand in hand more than ever, Facebook have announced this week that a documentary series exploring Real Madrid from behind the scenes will take pride of place on their new ‘Watch’ tab.

It’s no surprise that the current Champions League winners, who last season became the first club to retain their title, are the first choice for Facebook, but what is interesting is the platform’s switch away from asking clubs to upload live video and instead focus on producing on-demand style content that focuses on behind the scenes content and club / fan culture. It’s been clear for a while that Facebook is looking to buy up live sport, but this seems to mark a change in approach. But with on-demand sports content (like podcasts, which can be listened to at any time) becoming more and more popular, this seems like a smart move, and one where we might see more clubs getting involved.

This is probably something we’ll be hearing more about over the next few weeks, especially now as the football season has started and fan engagement about things which aren’t transfers become crucial. Next week, the Soccerex event takes place in Manchester, and Dan McLaren will be there (with his Digital Sport branded laptop) to moderate two panels and chat digital with the great and the good from around the industry. If you can’t make the event, be sure to stay tuned to the Digital Sport Insider podcast to hear what’s being discussed.

About author

Chris McMullan
Chris McMullan 480 posts

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

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