What does content creation look like when it’s not dictated by you, but the events on the sports fields?
When you follow sports at SofaScore, you watch the broadcast with one eye and the computer with the other, planning what to publish. But the whole story is very different from someone “paying you to watch matches”, they joke at SofaScore, Croatia’s biggest live sports results platform.
If you don’t know much about this worldwide platform from Croatia, here’s your chance to get to know it through – content. As a platform for live sports results, SofaScore collects information from sporting events and transmits it to users, but the statistics and results themselves are always accompanied by a series of posts on social networks and various types of digital content. The team of people who create that content therefore has a challenging task. At the mercy of the uncertainties of a sporting event, they must always be ready for the unexpected and make good use of (mis)chances on the field.
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Thus, part of the SofaScore team is always ready to prepare and publish content at any given time. This includes weekends since the vast majority of matches are played then, while on weekdays they are mostly engaged in researching statistics that they can later turn into content for social networks.
A day in the life of the SofaScore content team is very interesting, as explained to Netocratic by Filip Petković, their Senior Content Specialist:
Our activities depend on the scheduled matches played each day and on the news in the world of sports that dictate when we have to be present on social media.
During the week, we often work in the evenings because that’s when the matches our team follows are most often played, while at weekends it applies to the whole day, because an important match might be played on Saturday at 13:30, as well as on Sunday at 21:00. Our distribution of work within the team also depends on the match schedule.
If we divide the work into office work and work during matches, it could be said that during the average day we dig into the SofaScore app and our database in search of interesting statistics from which we can create posts that give some added value to all football fans.
But no matter how hard you try to prepare, you still depend on what’s happening in football. Ema Gomerčić, Head of SofaScore’s Brand and Content department, says that the situation is different for them than for other brands. While usually most content is planned in advance, and only a smaller part consists of reactions to current events, the opposite is true at SofaScore. With the help of data, of course.
Statistical ratings are the content team’s best friend
An interesting challenge posed by their strategy of covering current events is not knowing how successful each post will be since not every player or club has an equally sized fan base. Ema adds that as a rule, posts about famous players do better, but this is not always the case. That is why SofaScore rely on their now well-known statistical player ratings that always bring in good interactions. Ema explains:
Over the past few years, we have worked very hard to establish our statistical rating as a benchmark for quantifying player performance. We can say that we have done a pretty good job. Today, it’s not unusual for footballers like Tony Kroos, Raheem Sterling, Dani Alves, and Jadon Sancho to react to our tweets, although to us this still seems unreal.
Of course, engagement with them always brings a huge increase in the number of impressions. It’s an indicator of how much it pays to be persistent and consistent, but on the other hand it also shows how often you don’t depend on yourself.
🔎 | FOCUS
Toni Kroos pulled the strings for Real Madrid tonight:
👌 119 touches (most)
🔑 3 key passes (joint-most)
↪️ 5/6 accurate crosses (most)
🔭 15/16 accurate long balls (most)
👟 95/100 accurate passes (most)
📈 7.9 SofaScore rating
Midfield maestro. 👏👏#Supercopa pic.twitter.com/V1fOWD4Ion
— SofaScore (@SofaScoreINT) January 16, 2022
The statistical rating itself is an internally developed system that gives each player a rating from 3 to 10, and it’s interesting that it is not influenced by any SofaScore employee, but is automatically generated from the available statistics for each player in every match. Filip Petković adds:
None of us on the team knows the “magic formula” that calculates a rating, let alone participates in its calculation. The rating is the main and best known SofaScore feature, so we are guided by it to create content – any post created relating to player statistics must contain the rating as well.
The rating also encourages the most engagement with posts, because fans of different players and teams mostly comment on the rating and compare players by their rating, even if they disagree with it.
Some of the most successful posts created and published the same day were those related to the Messi’s transfer from Barcelona to PSG last summer. Ema adds that one of the best last year was the one with Neymar’s poor rating against Bayern, for which they even got an inbox comment from Neymar’s sister Rafaella (the same sister for whose birthday Neymar takes a mid-season vacation).
Knowledge of football – it’s a must!
It’s logical that, if you want to get a job in SofaScore’s content and brand team, you need to know a lot about football. Content Specialist Filip Majerić explains that almost all the content that SofaScore creates for its channels is the product of a passion for football.
We also see this job as a hobby, because even when we’re not working, we’re still watching matches or reading something about football. Knowing football is crucial because we always have to be up to date and make sure that the content we create is relevant and placed at the right time.
To give you a better picture of the level at which we follow football, I can only say that we often play a game where we guess players from certain clubs like Hrvatski Dragovoljac, Salzburg or Turin, and in most cases the game ends without a winner because we can all list all the players.
The hardest thing for them is that they all support different clubs: it hits especially hard when your club loses, and you have to create a post praising their opponents, adds Filip. These announcements are usually standardized, but the information contained in them cannot be filled in until the last moment, that is, the end of the match.
Instagram and Twitter are two completely different stories
While Instagram posts can be prepared with a template, this is impossible in the case of Twitter, so SofaScore’s Twitter profiles often rely on text comments, screenshots from the app and other ideas. Filip Petković adds:
We prepare for matches in advance, which is why we’re able to be among the first to share certain statistics or other interesting things on social media. For example, we can prepare framework texts, copies that we publish with the announcement of the starting positions, so that when the line-ups are posted we can immediately react and distribute the content.
Also, we can research whether a player has achieved some particularly commendable results that would be interesting to communicate before the match, and we use this information to add extra value to SofaScore’s content.
Urgent situations are part of the workday
If you follow football, you know that extraordinary things can happen. The recent Portuguese league match between Benfica and Belenenses is a good example: it ended earlier because one team didn’t have enough players. Another situation worth noting was Christian Eriksen’s collapse at the EURO 2020, recalls Filip Petković:
I remember sitting in front of the television, watching the scenes from Copenhagen in disbelief, and at the same time scrolling Twitter where there wasn’t a single person not talking about Eriksen. I quickly tweeted that the game was interrupted and that hopefully Eriksen would be OK. Fortunately, everything went well, and that tweet eventually became the tweet with the most impressions of all our tweets posted during the European Championships.
🚨 | INTERRUPTED
The match between Denmark and Finland has been interrupted following Christian Eriksen's collapse on the pitch.
We're hoping everything turns out well for the Denmark's no. 10. 💪#EURO2020 #DENFIN
— SofaScore (@SofaScoreINT) June 12, 2021
From Croatia to Brazil
SofaScore today doesn’t have just one profile on social media, but several specialized profiles for different countries and regions. So, for example, there is a SofaScore Instagram profile dedicated only to the 1st HNL and Croatian players, but also a special SofaScore profile for Brazil, explains Ema:
We have a particularly strong profile in Brazil, both on Twitter and Instagram. It is run by our colleague Guilherme, who lives in Rio de Janeiro and lives for football, and this fully local approach has proved to be a complete success. Of course, different time zones play a big role here, but the audience is also very different. That is why it would be very difficult for us in Croatia to understand what the Brazilian fans really want.
Football is followed differently in South America; they don’t have as many sources of statistics as we do in Europe; their perception of football is still more based on passion alone, so their enthusiasm for SofaScore as something new and different on the market is much bigger.
The approach, tone of voice and content of every SofaScore profile are different, but they are all guided by the same principles, Ema explains. These are accuracy, reliability, objectiveness and accessibility, among others. The direction is the same everywhere, but the way the data is presented is adapted to the market, as it should be.
“We’re sending this year’s Player of the Season award to more than 50 addresses”
The SofaScore team is currently working on collecting the ratings for a part of the last year’s Player of the Season award – a trophy given to the top-rated player of each league which is slowly gaining popularity in the football world. Filip Majerić points out that SofaScore feels that sending a real, physical reward to all the players who excel during the season can make them feel extra valued and noticed.
Since the first edition, the number of footballers who have accepted the award has been growing steadily.
I believe we don’t have to emphasise how much a photo of a top player with our award contributes to SofaScore’s brand awareness. This year, we’re sending the award addressed to over 50 football players. We hope for a great response from the players this year, and that our award will become a kind of benchmark when we talk about awards that are completely objective and based on statistics.
The SofaScore team will continue to create great digital content this season, and invite all fans of analytics, social networks and, most of all, football, to join them on the journey – as followers or as team members, whichever you prefer.