Media Microscope: How Will You Follow the World Cup?

With a plethora of options, there are countless strategies for following the action from South Africa. What’s yours?
Honestly, I can’t believe I actually made it.

You see, over the past several months, each day, a small part of me has died. The anticipation leading up to this World Cup has been murdering me, gradually, starting in earnest after the group draw in December.

But now, I am here. Intact, alive, and presented with a new, even more daunting challenge than my survival these past six months.

How am I going to follow this thing?

Unfortunately, my persistent lobbying to get all American businesses closed for a month that don’t serve either food or beverages went for naught. Therefore, like most of you out there, I still have to work between June 11 and July 11.

Unless you’re unemployed (lucky!), or taking a leave of absence (I actually considered this), it could be a tricky proposition watching every game of the tournament, which, naturally, I want to do. That does mean every game by the way, from USA vs. England to New Zealand vs. Slovakia.

Though watching, or at least following 64 soccer games in 31 days will be challenging, I believe it is well within the realm of possibility.

After all, we live in the information age, right? There certainly won’t be a lack of options for following footballapalooza in South Africa.

It wasn’t always that way, though. I remember previous World Cups when I had to unearth an old VCR and VHS tapes to ensure I could tape--or, more accurately, attempt to tape--the games I wanted to see.  It was like living in the Cretaceous Period…..or, you know, like, the 80s.

Rewinding each tape and pressing play was kind of like playing Russian roulette. Sometimes I got the games I taped, sometimes I got a bunch of snow, and sometimes, I got the first 80 minutes of the game I taped, followed by an old episode of The Wonder Years. Good times!

We’ve come a long way in the last few years. In addition to watching the telly live or on the DVR, a fan can watch online at the official ESPN website, or on streams of varying quality and legitimacy. Assuming it doesn’t explode, Twitter will be keeping fans up to date on a minute-by-minute basis. There are also the mobile entries, like FLO TV, which will be broadcasting all 64 matches live on several mobile devices.

Of course, having the means to watch each match is important, but perhaps not as important as being able to weasel your way out of any responsibilities that may be standing in the way of watching said matches.

Like work, for example. Maybe taking an extra long lunch at work is the best option. Maybe it’s having a little TV or mobile device at your desk. Or maybe, just not going to work at all is the way to go.

It’s not just work though. Spouses or significant others could present a challenge as well. My advice? If they aren’t already, try like hell to make them into soccer fans. Or break up with them. That works, too.

Time is a factor too. For example, what about those west-coasters who want to catch the early game of the group stage at 4:30 am local time? To many, this presents an interesting and potentially dangerous conundrum: wake up super early, or stay up all night?

My plan is multifaceted: Wake up at 6:30 am, drink a gallon of coffee, and watch the early game (I’m in the central time zone). The next game starts at 9 am, so I’ll be able to catch the first half before I have to go to work. Upon arrival at work, I’ll desperately scour the internet for a stream where I can catch the second half. For the third match, I’ll set my DVR and attempt the always-hazardous “ostrich strategy,” in which I (figuratively) bury my head in the sand for the last several hours of my day, with the hope of not learning the match result.

But enough about me. I am now opening this Media Microscope up to you, gentle reader. Tell us in the comments: how are you going to follow this year’s World Cup?

Seth Vertelney is a regular contributor for You can follow him on twitter.

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