The lead-up to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil has been beset by protests, organizational missteps and construction issues. And with the big kickoff just days away, there remain many concerns. One such worry is that the country’s mobile infrastructure will not be able to cope with the huge amount of mobile activity expected within the various stadia. For those sports fans tuning in from the much cooler climes of the UK, however, mobile devices will play an important support role in World Cup coverage.
TV will be the medium of choice for UK consumers following the action, even among the most digitally connected and especially mobile millennial cohort. May 2014 polling by youth consumer insight firm Voxburner found that 86% of UK millennial internet users planned to follow the World Cup frequently—either regularly or all the time—via the TV set. This is unsurprising given the big screen’s suitability for the consumption of sports video content, as well as the fact that the majority of kickoff times are scheduled to be screened during primetime in the UK.
But despite the many advantages offered by TV and TV scheduling, a sizable proportion of this user group will utilize mobile phones to keep track of the action—almost half said they would use them regularly or all the time. Tablet use will be slightly lower, though still used by 32%.
This may be something of a continuation of already entrenched behavior among this user group. A March 2014 study conducted by Global Market Insite in association with Imagine Mobile for the Mobile Marketing Association found that 58% of 18- to 34-year-olds in the UK accessed sports content via mobile device.
It’s also possible that a lot of this mobile use during the World Cup may be part of a multiscreen dynamic. According to a study from Opinium Research LLP for John Lewis, almost two-thirds of World Cup viewers in the UK said they would use multiple devices at the same time during matches.
Whatever the statistic, mobile devices seem set to perform an important support role for those UK consumers who will be following the events in Brazil. For those heading to Rio, it may be best if they left their mobile at home.
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