Fan Movement by FIFA Turns Three
This week marked three years since FIFA, with the support of the team at Seven League, launched Fan Movement by FIFA. It was 2018, the FIFA World Cup in Russia was beginning, and we brought together over 400 football fans from around the world to be part of this unique worldwide digital community.
In response to the need to fundamentally change the relationship between FIFA as an organisation and football fans around the world, Seven League proposed the creation of a unique global community of passionate football fans. And so in October 2017, recruitment for Fan Movement started - we used every tool available to scout social media platforms and find fans, artists, freestylers, players, coaches, all types of people passionate about football who have unique ways of expressing that passion. And so as the FIFA World Cup had its opening ceremony, we launched this community of fans from all over the world brought together through digital platforms to share their passion, to be rivals and good friends at the same time.
Three years later, our community has grown to over 1,300 members in over 110 countries, so being part of the team managing such a large community comes with its own challenges, but it is also not short on rewards.
Successfully managing this community is a combination of being a friend, a moderator, a good listener, an instant messaging platform, a student and a teacher. One of the keys to the success of Fan Movement is the fact that our members have come to know the team as people. Beyond the digital platforms that we use to communicate there's a friendly relationship that we have built over time which bonds the community together. This bond only gets stronger with the relationships that members have formed with each other.
Personally, I have formed friendships with people all over the world; from Mexico to Turkey, from Argentina to Australia. I have learned about football, food, culture and traditions directly from people on the ground eager to share their passion. I have been able to meet members on the ground and even if I've known them for a short period of time, I feel like I have known them forever. This personal connection that each community manager is able to develop with the community allows us to better serve the goals of Fan Movement. And in that sense, I truly believe that the key to being a good community manager lies in somehow becoming part of the community, realising that this job becomes part of who you are and that the community becomes one of your social circles, so it is difficult to do this job without pouring your heart into it.
As Fan Movement grows, it gets stronger. We have gone from producing FAN cams during the FIFA World Cup 2018, to having our very own verified Instagram channel. We have and continue to tell the stories of our members, their passion and what they do locally to use football as a tool that improves their life and the lives of those around them supporting FIFA’s Vision of making football truly global. We amplify the voice of our fans and FIFA has made Fan Movement a central part of their strategy, with fans' opinions being heard in unique and groundbreaking ways, from Focus Groups to the launch of the Fan Experience Panel.
When in 2020 most of the world went into lockdown, we leveraged our digital connection with fans to keep the community stronger and even more connected than ever before, at a time when real-life connections weren’t possible for many. Our content kept fuelling FIFA platforms because all we need to produce is passionate members with access to a device to record themselves, and of that we have a lot. Fan Movement is filled with positive and encouraging people who were grateful to be part of this community during these times as on a weekly basis they looked to connect with members and community managers on scheduled Zoom calls, members were willing to support each other and speak the universal language of football when all other languages failed.
Back when I started working on this project I had no idea that it was the beginning of an almost 4-year journey that has been certainly transformative and educational. As a member of this team, I have grown along with Fan Movement, from researching the fans that would eventually be part of the first wave of members, to managing the community, to now also managing the video content. I have seen this community grow in front of my eyes, with FIFA giving members more and bigger opportunities each year, and members supporting and encouraging each other in ways that highlight the best part of humanity.
Happy Birthday Fan Movement by FIFA! And many more ahead...