(Photo courtesy of Comcast)
Like many South American immigrants, some of my happiest childhood memories are tied to the FIFA World Cup, that massive soccer tournament that rolls around once every four years.
The year is 1994 and I’m watching Brazil kick Italy’s butt on an old-school TV set while lounging in an inflatable pool in Puerto Escondido, Venezuela. Then, I was one of millions of people tuning in to the final showdown of world’s biggest sporting event.
To say that things have changed through the years is a massive understatement: For the 2018 World Cup, which kicks off Thursday in Russia, the projected cumulative audience is a whopping 3.4 billion. As soon as the 2016 Olympics wrapped up, Philly’s Comcast started working on how to add value to soccer fans through the Sports App on its X1 platform.
At Comcast’s Accessibility Lab, we caught up with Comcast exec Jason Angelides — founder of the Comcast-acquired startup OneTwoSee — and got a preview of what World Cup viewers have access to in the X1 platform.
“Comcast is committed to sports fans,” said Angelides, now Executive Director, Technology and Product, Cable Division at Comcast Cable. “And this is a great chance to showcase our products and bring a different experience to our customers.”
Here are some of the features that stand out as part of the experience:
- Instant replay on demand:
Comcast added a helpful layer to the the standard DVR experience by cueing up game highlights in the scroll bar itself: goals and other major match events are ticked for easy access.
- Stats on stats on stats:
“Soccer fans love their stats,” Angelides said while he cycled through the demo, which builds on capabilities created by OneTwoSee. From shot maps tracking each goal attempts to group standings and possession advantage, the platform offers sleek data visualizations on demand.
- Featured channels with curated content:
Think classic matches, “Road to the World Cup” features and best goals.
- Pick your team:
With the U.S. out of the World Cup for the first time since 1986, Americans can pick their own allegiance. Each team has a “destination” where content and data is available in one spot. You can track teams and get notifications via text when a match is about to start.
- Los goles en Español
The X1 remote can understand commands in Spanish, including those that pull up World Cup games and content. Say “Copa Mundial” and you’ll get sent to the World Cup homepage, featuring 1,000 hours of live matches.-30-
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