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2010 W/Cup: Fans Turn To Cellphones To Track Games

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The billions of  fans of soccer’s World Cup, globally the premiere sporting event, will increasingly turn to mobile phones to track the action, according to a Nielsen survey released over the weekend.

More than half of the 27,000 people surveyed in 55 countries plan to follow the popular soccer tournament which is played every four years and begins in South Africa on June 11, Nielsen said in a survey.

Twenty-one percent said they would get information about the tournament on their mobile device and 9 percent would download an application to track the action.

“This event is the biggest in the world of sports by far,” Roger Entner, Nielsen’s senior vice president for mobile insights, said

in a telephone interview.

“In 2010, mobile is really starting to be a medium for soccer fans worldwide to connect with the game.”

The popular FIFA soccer tournament drew more than 700 million TV viewers when it was last played in 2006, including more than 120 million U.S. viewers who watched at least one minute of World Cup telecasts, Nielsen said.

While this is the first such Nielsen survey, Entner said the numbers using cellphones to follow the event will be far higher than 2006.

“The last World Cup, there was no iPhone,” he said of Apple Inc’s <AAPL.O> popular smartphone introduced in 2007.

U.S. smartphone penetration has surged to 22 percent from 3.8 percent four years ago, he said.

In France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK the rate has grown to a range of 21 percent to 36 percent from 4 percent to 10 percent in 2006.

With more powerful, faster devices and networks, those growth trends will only continue with widespread mobile video and TV

being the next step, Entner said.

Of those surveyed, 51 percent said they intend to follow the tournament, including 84 percent in Brazil, 83 percent in Argentina, 76 percent in South Korea, 75 percent in Italy and Portugal, 69 percent in Zambia and almost two-thirds of the people in China, Nielsen said.

“It’s mind blowing. It really shows how it is a global phenomenon,” Entner said.

“We see some of the highest intended usage rates actually coming out of the Middle East, Africa and the Pacific Rim.”

Countries with high planned cellphone use to access World Cup information include Venezuela (27 percent), United States (23 percent) and Brazil (21 percent), Nielsen said.

In fact, in every country in the Middle East and Africa where people were surveyed, the rate was between 22 percent and 30 percent.

“People intend to use mobile to supplement their hunger for information about the game,” Entner said. “If you can’t watch the game live, you’re going to follow it through your mobile device.”

The rates in Europe were far lower — 3 percent in soccer powers Germany and Spain — which Entner thought made sense given most of those countries were in the same time zone as the World Cup and had a higher penetration of TV sets, meaning fans could watch the game live more easily.

Finally, 34 percent of those surveyed picked Brazil as the likely Cup winner, easily outdistancing Argentina, England and Germany.

Entner is rooting for his native Germany but has picked Brazil.

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Eagles May Play Home Games In Abuja

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Plans are underway to have the Super Eagles move their home games to Abuja after Dangote Group handed over the rehabilitated MoshoodAbiola National Stadium, Abuja to the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development.
Contractors, Aron Nigeria Limited, handed over the rehabilitated stadium to the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, on Friday.
The rehabilitation work was carried out on the main bowl pitch and scoreboard.
Tidesports source reports that Dare had clamoured for the return of the Eagles to Abuja on several occasions, stating the need to have a permanent home stadium.
The Eagles last played at the Abuja stadium in 2012
“It is my wish that the Super Eagles and indeed the national teams of Nigeria, like elsewhere, have a permanent venue to play their matches rather than playing from one place to another,” Dare said last month while speaking to State House correspondents.
“There are great benefits for countries’ national teams to have a particular venue where the players understand very well. I believe very soon the Super Eagles will be playing their matches in Abuja or Lagos if the national stadium is fully ready too.”
In the last 10 years, the Eagles have played their home games at the GodswillAkpabio Stadium Uyo, Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin and AdokiyeAmiesimaka Stadium, Port Harcourt.
They, however, made a return to Lagos after 10 years and for the first time for a competitive match in 20 years when they played Lesotho in the 2022 World Cup qualifier at the TeslimBalogun Stadium on March 30.
They ended up playing their remaining World Cup qualifiers and the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in Lagos.
While the Eagles were hoping to make the TeslimBalogun Stadium their new home, news emerged last week that the Confederation of African Football had banned the stadium from hosting matches.
In a letter dated October 17, which was sent to the Secretary-General of the Nigeria Football Federation, Mohammed Sanusi,CAF said the stadium “lacks the CAF criteria and requirements in order to properly host international competitions”.
The letter signed by CAF Development Director Raul Chipenda said the stadium failed to implement the recommendations addressed to the NFF after the previous inspection.

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Court Bars Bash Ali From Defaming Minister

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Justice O.C. Agbaza of the High Court of the Federal  Capital Territory (FCT) has issued a restraining order, barring Bash Ali from further making or publishing any denigrating or defamatory material against the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare.
Tidesports source reports that the Minister had far back as June 25, 2021, approached the Federal High Court, Abuja division seeking a restraining order and charging Bash Ali with libel and defamation of character.
The lawyers to the minister from the Keyamo Chambers spent months unable to serve Bash and the judicial workers strike. Upon resumption and with the serial defamation by Bash Ali continuing, the lawyers approached the court. This time, the Keyamo team and Wole Olanipekun team as counsels secured the restraining order.
It would be recalled that sometime in April 2021, Bash Ali had in a letter, which he made available to the public, made several allegations against the Minister.
The Minister denied those allegations and to assert his innocence, the Minister filed Suit No. FCT/HC/CV/1269/2021seeking injunctive reliefs and pecuniary damages from Bash Ali on account of the defamatory publication.
Despite the pendency of this suit, Bash Ali recently published a video on social media in which he repeated those false allegations against the Minister and also issued several threats against the Minister and the Ministry.

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Nigeria’s Saidu Elected As Commonwealth Handball Scribe

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Nigeria’s Jibril Saidu has been elected the new secretary of the Commonwealth Handball Association.
The election, which took place via zoom on Monday, saw Saidu emerging unopposed but still polled 100 percent of the available votes.
Saidu,a former player became the second Nigerian to be elected as Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Handball Association succeeding General Ishola Williams who held the same position for almost three decades.
Also, Ruth Saunders, former President of South Africa Handball Federation defeated Steve Neilson of Scotland to become the first woman president of the Association.

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