Soccer fanatics all over the world are eagerly anticipating the kick-off to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. The Internet has already started to fill up with soccer-themed viral videos, Twitter accounts and epic trailers.
This year’s tournament has already been hyped as “the first social media world cup.
ESPN and ABC have teamed up to bring to your television — in some combination — every single soccer match being played. For footy-fans who don’t have a television, need even more coverage, or simply prefer watching sports on a laptop screen, here are some options for you to watch this year’s World Cup.
1. Live Stream
ESPN3.com will be live streaming all but 10 of the 64 matches, with ESPNradio and ESPN Mobile providing coverage and stat updates for the rest. You can access individual match streams via the sports drop-down on their website. The best part is that ESPN3’s World Cup coverage is absolutely, 100% free after a prompt to login to your Internet service provider. The catch is that you can’t access the streams unless your Internet provider already pays for access (no love for Time Warner Cable, but full access for Comcast, Verizon or Yahoo users).
Univision will also be live streaming every single match for free online at UnivisionFutbol.com. In addition to matches, Univision has updated their suite of social media options with real-time game stats, commentary, player interviews and behind-the-scene exclusives. For anyone looking to get a jump on the games, Univision offers video on match history and player profiles from World Cup legends past and present. While the site is pretty self-explanatory, knowledge of Spanish helps.
2. Highlights, Recaps, and Post-Game
Half the fun of World Cup soccer is reliving the best goals, moves and moments. There are a slew of sports sites that can dig up ongoing coverage after the match, but several stand out.
The official home of the FIFA World Cup is also home to an extensive video library constantly updated with highlights, exclusive interviews and features including a tribute to Nelson Mandela, match reactions and culture spots.
Footytube is a website dedicated to soccer videos — from the smallest European leagues all the way up to the World Cup. It’s a good place to look for previous highlights from your favorite players and more esoteric vids like an unofficial World Cup song from Germany. Footytube features highlights from each game as well as a soccer video news feed.
For those unable to reach ESPN3, their official YouTube channel has a bunch of video previews organized by team as well as commentary from sportscasters. It’s a little glossier and a little less in-depth than Footytube, but look for content to spike when the games officially start.
3. Watch It With Real People
Nothing’s better than sharing that last-minute clutch goal celebration with a group of fellow fans, or having a shoulder to cry on when your team gets eliminated (knock on wood). When television or live streaming isn’t enough, check out these lists of soccer bars to watch the action with your country-men-and-women:
The New York Daily News offers this extensive list of hotspots around New York with “Get Ready to Fill Your Cup,” while GQ Magazine throws in its own national picks for “The Best Soccercentric Bars in America.”
Along with a slew of stats and updates, LiveSoccerTV also dedicates a whole section of its site to soccer pubs. With more than 200 bars listed across America (and more than 125 in Canada) you’re sure to find some place that’s showing the game. While Premium Listed pubs have good information like which teams the pub supports, most listings are just street addresses, so you might want to look them up before you go.
Who knew there was a U.S. Soccer Official Bar Program? This site is a goldmine for those supporting Team USA, featuring an interactive map of pro-USA bars across the country. There is an application process to get on the list so you know the bars have been approved and vetted by U.S. Soccer.
New York’s Internet week (June 7-14) also has its share of World Cup meet ups. Celebrate the start of the games by watching USA vs. England at a sponsored World Cup Kickoff & Tweetup this Friday. Whatever team you support, dress (and tweet) accordingly.
Bonus: Watch It On A Boat
If you’ve always wanted to watch the World Cup on a boat, One Ocean Club has set up a World Cup cruise that will broadcast the matches while sailing between Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth. Other cruise lines have promised to show the games, but be careful — some of them have staked their team loyalties. For example, Carnival’s U.K. brands are pro-England while Thomson Cruises will also be showing Brazil and Spain.
Whatever your persuasion, be sure to check back for continuing World Cup coverage or leave your own viewing suggestions in the comments below.