FIFA World Cup 2018 kicks off today in Russia with the first match to be played between the host country’s team and Saudi Arabia. This will be the first match in the Group A that will mark the beginning of the football season at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. The match will begin at 6 pm local time, which translates to 8:30 pm IST.
In India, the football fans can watch the matches on Sony Ten channels, while they will also be able to enjoy the live stream and updates through different apps. Companies such as Google, Apple, Airtel, and Jio hoping to cash in on the mega sporting event have also made FIFA 2018-centric announcements to keep the users glued to their platforms.
So, what exactly are these companies doing to add more to the biggest tournament of this year? Well, while Google nearly dominates the Internet sphere, Apple prudently lets the users of its devices and services catch up on the latest news and updates live from Russia. In India, Jio and Airtel are in a neck and neck competition to dole out different offers and services to lure their respective subscribers into staying with them. Here are what Google, Apple, Jio, and Airtel are doing this football season to keep people glued.
Google – The San Francisco-headquartered Internet colossus, like the last time, began the football festivities with a doodle, which is universally available on all the country versions of Google. Well, this is just a small part of what Google is doing this FIFA World Cup 2018. Google Search will actively scan your sports interest to offer you all the information related to your favourite football teams.
On your phone – both Android and iOS, the Google App will prioritise the football matches on top so that it’s the first thing you see in the app. If you previously selected your favourite football teams, you will most likely see the news and updates about them first, subsiding the information on other teams. In addition, Google will maintain a scorecard live in the app, which will show elaborative information on the teams, players, and other trivia when clicked. There will also be a score widget hovering in the notification shade so that you get real-time scores during matches.
The Google Assistant will also be at your service to give you what you need. You can ask the Google Assistant questions about football teams playing this season, what teams are in group A or B, and other information on players. You can ask the match schedules with their local and country-specific timings. Google Assistant can be triggered using the wake phrase “Ok, Google” or “Hey, Google” on Android phones, Android TVs, and Google Home speakers.
Apple – Apple is jumping the bandwagon by leveraging the new football-centric features on Siri. Siri, which powers iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Macs, and HomePod, will be at your disposal. Apple is adding support for football in 9 more countries this year, so the people living in Brazil, Russia, Denmark, Finland, Malaysia, Turkey, Thailand, Saudi Arabia and Israel will now be able to ask Siri questions and seek information on FIFA World Cup 2018. India is already one of the countries that Apple supports for the Siri sports updates.
Football fans will be able to ask Siri about the match schedules, playing teams, groups, and other information on the players, in addition to the real-time scores. Your questions can be “When does Brazil play?” or “What teams are in Group B?”. Siri will answer all the football-related questions on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, and HomePod – which is not officially available in India yet.
Further, Apple will highlight the apps that are focusing on football in the App Store. These include news apps from companies such as Fox News, CNN, BBC Sports, as well as games such as FIFA Mobile and PES 2018. Apple is also offering curated playlists to Apple Music users, so if you support Brazil, you can listen to its football anthems and more. There is also a podcast called ‘The Beautiful Game’ that will be available in the Podcasts app to listen to live football updates.
Jio – Jio is ushering the Indian subscribers to the football season with its popular JioTV app. JioTV app has more than 500 TV channels that can be live streamed on your phone or tablet and Sony Ten channels are included in them. JioTV users will be able to watch the FIFA World Cup 2018 matches live on their devices for free. You need to have a Jio SIM card to enjoy the services offered by JioTV.
Jio earlier this week announced that it will offer 1.5GB data free of cost on all the prepaid recharge packs that provide data on a daily basis. The recharge packs start from Rs 149 and go up till Rs 799. Moreover, the customers also get Rs 100 off on the recharges worth Rs 300 or higher and 20 per cent off on the values below Rs 300.
Airtel – Much like Jio, Airtel is celebrating the FIFA World Cup 2018 with the free Airtel TV subscription to all its prepaid and postpaid customers. Airtel TV offers Sony Ten channels live where you can catch all the action without missing a bit. Of course, you must have an Airtel SIM card to enjoy Airtel TV. The Airtel TV is available on Android phones, iPhones, iPads, and Airtel Internet TV set-top box.
Airtel has many recharge packs that offer sufficient data to the customers that won’t hinder the enjoyment while watching the football matches live. Unlike JioTV app, Airtel TV also lets you cast the channels on a bigger screen, so if you have a smart (or Android) TV without a cable connection, you can mirror the phone to watch all the action happening on the football ground.