by Al Sacco

BlackBerry and the World Cup: Soccer Fans Embrace BBM

Jul 13, 2010
Mobile Small and Medium Business

BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) usage dramatically increased during key World Cup 2010 soccer matches, according to RIM.

The 2010 FIFA World Cup came to a close on Sunday, with Spain emerging victorious over the Netherlands. But just as all the soccer action ended, BlackBerry users clacked away on their smartphones, sending messages to other fans via Research In Motion’s (RIM) proprietary BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) instant messaging (IM) application.

BBM logo

BBM is RIM’s BlackBerry-specific, mobile IM application that uses unique “PIN” codes associated with every BlackBerry to connect RIM smartphone users. And some 25 million BlackBerry users regularly employ the app. (Check out my BBM best practices here.)

The World Cup, which began on June 11 and ended last Sunday, sparked quite a bit of BBM traffic, according to RIM, and the company claims it saw a “clear correlation between BBM traffic and significant events during the World Cup as fans shared their delights and despairs in real time.”

From RIM:

[D]uring a thrilling World Cup final between the Netherlands and Spain on Sunday at Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg, Spanish International and FC Barcelona Midfielder Andrés Iniesta scored the winning goal only three minutes before the end of extra-time, which as the lone goal of the match crowned Spain Champions of the tournament. At the time of this exciting goal, that was viewed around the world, BlackBerry Messenger traffic increased immediately by 280% as virtual communities of fans shared their reactions through BBM.

RIM didn’t share any specific BBM usage numbers, but the percentage increases do indeed seem to paint a picture of many BBM users as soccer fans. Additional notable stats from RIM include:

  • USA v England, June 12th (Match Day 2): traffic spiked 35% globally at the time of the first goal, scored by England.
  • Netherlands v Brazil, July 2nd (Match Day 20): traffic jumped by 122% globally at the time of the second goal, scored by the Netherlands
  • Argentina v Germany, July 3rd (Match Day 21): traffic rose by 178% globally at the time of the 3rd German goal.

It would’ve been nice to see some kind of World Cup/BBM promotion, like RIM did for the NHL Stanley Cup Finals, with so many soccer fans clearly using BBM during the games. But perhaps the company wasn’t impressed with the NHL promo participation.

Read more about BBM on RIM’s website.


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