Digital Media Cafe Blog 12th November: Featuring Liverpool FC, George North and Caterham – David Granger

By iSportconnect | November 12, 2014

Hello and welcome to this week’s Digital Café Blog. In this edition we’ll be taking a look at how one club is expanding its digital horizons, examine the new wave of funding sport online and check out a shining light on socal media in the world of rugby union.

Kop A Load of This: New LFC Website

While Liverpool has not had the best run of results on the pitch, the football club certainly hasn’t taken its eye off the digital ball. Renowned for their policy of serving overseas fans and localizing global content, Liverpool have now launched a complimentary website for English-speaking fans – LFC Xtra.

The intention was to create a site full of content which was half way between social media and the longer form content on the official site. And the result has a Tumblr feel or an online fanzine – it definitely has a little bit of  Buzzfeed in its DNA, and it’s not afraid to demonstrate some wit and a little self-deprecation with features such as Found! 9 people who have yet to offer their opinion on Mario Balotelli Even for non-Liverpool fanatics it’s worth a lunchtime read.

You might argue you need a football club with Liverpool’s history and success to create a playground site like LFC Xtra – but any club in any sport with some imagination and a sense of humour could offer content like this.

Athletes Getting it Right: George North

George North has a had a stellar rugby union career to date, the third youngest player to be capped for Wales and the youngest player to score a try – well, two… – on his debut international when he turned out against South Africa. Since then he has grand slams and British Lions success to his name. And in between playing he has found the time to notch up some great social content as well. His two main channels are Facebook and Twitter. Facebook acts much more as a professional log, written in the third person, while Twitter mixes up his playing with much more personal information. It’s a neat division of content and tone and works well.

F1 Power Struggles: Please Crowd-Source Generously

The power struggles in F1 haven’t ever been just about the one on the track. It’s a very political and politicized sport. Well, with the amount of money involved, it’s bound to be. But the latest financial battles with two teams going to the wall and even more concerned about their bank balance means things are not looking good for the series.

So, when Caterham decided to try to race at Abu Dhabi at the final race of the season, they chose a very 21st century method of raising the money – crowd-sourcing. Using the hashtag #RefuelCaterhamF1, the Caterham F1 Team is getting the cash by giving fans and sponsors once in a lifetime rewards in return for donations. Now you can take this one of two ways: a chance for the underdogs to rise again, fuelled by the fans and their cash, or a desperate indictment of a sport which revels in extravagance but can’t afford to run a complete grid.

And these aren’t necessarily my views, but those of the comments under each social post the team puts out. It would be amazing if Caterham were able to complete the funding, but they have just over two days to reach their two million three hundred and fifty thousand pound total and they’re only up to 51% as of today. Perhaps the sport, its governing body and rights-holders will step in Or maybe not. But the sport will be all the poorer if more and more teams find themselves turning to their global fanbase to actually get a car on the grid. As will those fans.


Having spent eight seasons in Formula One managing the digital channels for world champions Red Bull Racing, David Granger now runs Fact 51, a social and digital content agency.

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