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Football, or soccer as its known in America, is a truly global sport. Countries and people are united by it and interest is monumental. With international football competitions, the whole world really is watching.

In 2006, 284 million people worldwide watched the World Cup final. That same year, an estimated 5.9 billion total viewers watched at least part of the month-long tournament for an average of 93 million viewers per match By comparison; America’s Superbowl had an estimated 94 million viewers in 2006.

Football fans are very enthusiastic about the sport and take it very seriously. On Facebook, the two FIFA 2009 fan pages have a combined 300,000 fans worldwide, with other football fan pages having numbers near or above one million. In the three weeks since April 15, 2009, the number of fans on these pages has grown between 0.2% and 8.2%.

In the United States alone, Facebook counts over 1.35 million of those users as having soccer (football) as one of their interests. The fans sites that these and other like minded people around the world join, turn what used to be a pastime relegated to individual matches into an around the clock marathon.

Social media enables football fanatics to post stories and videos, as well as submit additional stories or commentary. Football-related social media provides fans to keep up with news about teams in other cities or countries. In short, it allows for fans to become more engaged in a sport that previously relegated fans to a spectator role during selected periods of time.

IBT Games is helping football fans express their passion for the sport in an application that allows users to build teams and compete against other fans. IBT Game’s Street Football application has over 121,000 monthly active users. Their application reflects the international nature of the sport and the global enthusiasm for the game. While 14.7 average pages a day spent on Facebook as a whole per unique user. Users of IBT Games’ Street Football application spent a significantly larger 24.6 pages per day on the application.

My point to all these statistics is that football is a universal pastime. People across the world watch and discuss the games. Most of these people are quite passionate about the sport and want to be engaged in their pastime a lot more than just the periods in which games actually take place. Social media makes it possible to take that passion beyond the football stadium and this benefits football fans everywhere.