Subscribers to 3’s mobile network will be able to watch World Cup match highlights and related footage for free this summer as the operator has acquired the mobile rights for all 64 games to be held in Germany starting next month.
The programme package on offer includes three dedicated mobile TV channels — one showing extended match highlights, another with content based on a ‘Today’s Best of…’ theme and a third with a specially commissioned daily magazine show, which 3 claimed is the first made-for-mobile programming of its kind.
Match highlights for every game will be made available five minutes after the final whistle. A new ‘match centre’ application will also offer minute-by-minute text commentary and games statistics.
Robert Finnegan, managing director of 3 Ireland, said: “The 2006 FIFA World Cup is the first mainstream event where video mobile will play a major role as a media platform.”
O2 Ireland will be providing a World Cup-specific site via its i-mode online service. This will feature text and still images, providing news, alerts and scores as they happen. A spokesperson for the company said the service was still being finalised but it is likely to cost between €1-3 for a month. A complementary site, called ‘World Cup Widows’, will also be launched as a fun alternative for women whose husbands and boyfriends go temporarily AWOL for the duration of the tournament.
Vodafone, the largest mobile operator in Ireland, said it was not focusing on the World Cup because the Irish team is not involved. The company holds rights to broadcast footage from the Champions League and the GAA football and hurling championship, with match highlights for the latter competitions available free to subscribers.
By Gordon Smith