If you thought March Madness was major, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
The 2014 FIFA World Cup brings “the beautiful game” to soccer fans around the world for a full month, with matches beginning June 12 and culminating in the championship on July 13.
Whether they’re watching live in Brazil or keeping up with the action from home, international football fanatics are set to use their smartphones and tablets in record numbers to stream games and highlights and follow tournament news.
Fandom seems to strike some sports lovers like a sickness, with MobiTV’s research revealing that a whopping 59% of athletics fans would give up alcohol and another 30% would abandon their pets in exchange for being able to stream their must-see matches (sorry, Rover).
Sports watching increasingly is becoming a multi-screen and very mobile activity, as 46% of MobiTV respondents indicate they’ll stream games right from their living-room sofas, while 26% do it in the office.
Research by YuMe shows that 11% of fans will turn to their smartphones to stream games, with those numbers doubling for tablet users. The numbers are even higher when accounting for soccer lovers who are catching up on highlights: 22% will watch on their smartphones and 25% will be glued to their tablets for every slow-motion replay of goals and slide tackles.
According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, 20% of soccer fans will stream a game on mobile while watching another match on TV. And if you’re wondering if your office suddenly has a mysterious case of the flu, it’s probably just 16% of workers calling in sick so they can stay home to watch a match.
Drowning in Data Charges
In light of these stats, even the most cost effective data plans could be compromised as employees keep up with the action. Wandera’s Enterprise Mobility Trend Report shows that, in general, up to 55% of corporate data is used for non-business purposes.
The report also revealed that nearly the same amount of data was used by employees on weekends as on weekdays, further indicating that a significant portion corporate data spends is going towards employees' personal use.
True soccer enthusiasts are unlikely to exercise caution and moderation when it comes to the World Cup, leading to a spike in mobile video charges and roaming data fees. Wandera’s number-crunching shows that the sporting tournament will bring a 40% increase in mobile video data usage alone.
European footie fans travelling to Brazil may find themselves in unfamiliar territory. While most European mobile carriers apply a cap to roaming data charges, most Brazilian wireless network providers have no such limit in place. Travel advisories have been issued on this topic.
With data in the South American country priced between $.1.68 - $10.00 MB, streaming games or even sharing updates via messaging and social media apps will cost users and companies. Tools such as Wandera’s Mobile Data Gateway can help enterprises monitor how employees use data on corporate-managed devices and avoid a nasty case of bill shock.
On the other hand, some teams are using Big Data to improved performance.
Watch Out for...Cristiano Ronaldo?
As with all big-time cultural events, cybercriminals want a piece of the action, too, so World Cup fans and their employers should take precautions to avoid inadvertently exposing their mobile devices, and thereby their contact info, corporate data, etc., to unsavory outlets.
With mobile browsing predicted to take over fixed internet access this year, it’s important for all to be wary in how they surf. In a blog post, McAfee’s online security expert Robert Siciliano outlines the top searches most likely to be targeted by cybercriminls.
Dubbed the Red Card Club, 11 World Cup athletes, including Portugal’s polarizing Cristiano Ronaldo (leaving the way at No. 1) and Lionel Messi from perennial contender Argentina, comprise a group of names considered to be risky online searches for football fans.
According to Siciliano, many sites showing videos of these players’ skills are “rigged” to dupe users into handing over personal information, which thieves will in turn use to run up massive credit card bills.
Kaspersky’s blog cautions soccer fans about trusting websites that seem secure simply because the URL begins with “https.” Blog author Aaron Stern details one particular site that purportedly offered a ticket download, which in reality was a malicious form of the data-stealing Banker Trojan.
Similarly, not all World Cup-themed mobile apps are what they appear to be. Antivirus provider Avast discovered Android applications in the Google Play Store with titles such as Corner Kick World Cup 2014 and Fifa 2014 Free - World Cup that either were nothing more than empty, unusable apps chock full of ads or required access to areas of the mobile device (such as call log, location data and other accounts on the device) that had absolutely nothing to do with operating the application.
Instead of downloading these types of questionable applications, look for official apps from trusted sites and providers, Avast suggests.