WhatsApp has a huge number of uses – it’s a brilliant way to keep in touch with friends, video call with family living far away, send amusing GIFs to colleagues, and forwarding documents and PDFs between the web browser on your computer and smartphone. There’s even a WhatsApp Business standalone app that lets you chat with customer service representatives to sort out any problems with online orders and the like.
However, the Portuguese arm of sports broadcast network Eleven Sports has unveiled one of the most unique uses for the Facebook-owned chat app we’ve ever come across. That’s because Eleven Sports will now use WhatsApp to provide fans with access to its UEFA Champions League coverage.
Yes, you’ve read that right.
Rather than loading up your favourite live blog, watching a live stream, or checking social media… fans will be able to get match updates from text messages inside WhatsApp. Not only that, but Eleven Sports will also be sending around goal clips, so those who aren’t able to catch the game will be able to see the highlights within their messaging app.
The new scheme kickstarted on February 18, 2020. Fans will have to subscribe to the service to get the latest text updates on the match, as well as the clips of the most pivotal moments. The tool will be available for a host of premium live sport in Portugal, including LaLiga, Bundesliga and Ligue1, as well as the Champions League.
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According to Eleven Sports, which is available to UK customers, this particular service is only being offered in Portugal. Goal clips will be geographically-locked to Portugal since it’s solely being aimed at that audience.
Usually WhatsApp makes it incredibly easy to forward messages, images, videos and documents sent within the app. These can be pushed to group chats, individual conversations, or shared to your handset, so it will be interesting to see how broadcasters react to clips being sent to fans within a messaging app, like WhatsApp.
This isn’t the first time Eleven Sports has looked to new platforms to try to expand its viewership, or bring in new fans. Last year the company partnered with smartphone app OneFootball to allow entire matches to available to fans inside the app on a pay-per-view basis.
According to the company, this scheme topped up a very successful year that saw its social media channels increase by 138 percent.
Eleven Sports Portugal Director or Marketing and Communications, Nuno Filipe Miranda told Express.co.uk: “We want to make it as easy as possible to for our fans to watch their favourite sporting moments across all of our platforms.
“With more than 60 percent of the Portuguese population now on WhatsApp, it’s important that we’re there to bring our fans all the action, straight to their phones.”
BT Sport, which owns the rights to broadcast UEFA Champions League in the UK, allows smartphone owners to stream entire games on-the-move. However, the company has yet to push select clips to your WhatsApp. We’ve contacted Eleven Sports to find out whether UK-based sports fans can subscribe to the feed and get the goal clips delivered to WhatsApp on their smartphone.