Facebook enters spirit of FA Cup with overhyped marketing ploy

Facebook will for the first time broadcast an FA Cup game on its site, having struck an historic deal with the English Football Association.

The partnership, helped along by sponsor Budweiser, will see Facebook getting involved in the overpaid buffoonery that is English football.

It is the first time that the social network has broadcast such a match, and its 750 million users will be offered a glimpse at the glamour that English football’s most famous cup competition.

So will fans be treated to the fancy, fleeting footwork of Man City’s David Silva? The swashbuckling forward runs made famous by Ashley Cole?  Or Wayne Rooney’s massive potato head? 

Well, not really. Facebook instead went for the ‘glamour’ tie that is Ascot United versus Wembley in the ‘extra preliminary first round’ which sounds like a pre-event invented solely for market purposes.

For the uninitiated Ascot United and Wembley are not well known in the canon of great footballing sides so this sounds like it could be more marketing hype than a footballing event.

Ascot is of course largely famous for galloping toffs and stupid hats. And while Wembley may ply their trade in the same vicinity as the famous Wembley Stadium, it is likely that the only role this squad will play in the actual final is flogging hotdogs outside the stands.

Speaking to Reuters about the event, Ascot chairman Mike Harrison said that despite having “88 people for a league match last night” Facebook’s involvement could mean that “millions more might well be watching”.

That is what Budweiser will be hoping anyway, having ploughed £24 million into a three year sponsorship with the FA for the world’s oldest football cup.

The FA meanwhile has no intentions of allowing Facebook to start broadcasting higher level matches yet.  They would have to stump some serious cash to rub shoulders with the likes of Sky Sports and ESPN.

But it could be an option for more games at the bottom rungs of the footballing ladder.

“There are no plans to do so yet, but it could happen up until the first round stage when the broadcasting contract between the FA, ITV and ESPN comes into operation.” Or so it goes.