The various crises that Lebanon has experienced in recent years have not prevented the Lebanese Football Federation from activating its communication on the various social networks and developing internally the live broadcast of the various local football competitions.
Despite the economic and health crises of the past two to three years, the Lebanese Football Federation developed a new “Media” unit in 2020 to increase the notoriety of this sport in Lebanon, and thus encourage its practice.
In an interview with Ici Beyrouth, the director of the media service, Faten Abi Faraj, explains that the creation of this service had the “aim of reaching more of the general public. At the time of the opening of an active section on social networks, there was the Covid-19. We realized that, of course, there was a large number of media dealing with Lebanese football news, but with an abundance of fake news. In addition, the general public has the right to follow in detail the national selections and the activities of the federation to understand how this sport is developing in Lebanon. Based on this inventory, we opened a new media section in 2020. At the same time, unfortunately, the Covid-19 health crisis began. »
The Lebanese Football Federation focuses its strategy on the three main social networks: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Abi Faraj explains that “we have gradually developed the federation’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. Twitter is a powerful tool on an international scale. All international football federations use it. Seniors are mostly active on Facebook As for the younger generations, they are more active on Instagram. » The Lebanese Football Federation now has nearly 5,700 followers on Twitter and 41,000 on Facebook.
However, it is unfortunate that communication on Federation social media accounts is only in Arabic. Indeed, there are large Lebanese communities living abroad for many years who are particularly interested in the performance of the national team, and who could be the target of communication in English and French, or even in Spanish. . Abi Faraj explains that “communication in new languages is difficult to develop with the team currently in place. This would require additional staff. But social media translation services, even if they don’t translate perfectly, convey the main message. »
Development of a live streaming platform
The Lebanese Football Federation has been able to take advantage of the period of health crisis to develop further and put in place new communication tools. Abi Faraj explains that “during Covid-19, our activity was naturally slowed down with the postponement of several competitions. This dead period pushed us to work on Direct, i.e. live broadcasts. We have reached this milestone thanks to the Mycujoo streaming platform. Today the Lebanese Football Federation has a kind of web TV via Youtube. Other federations also do digital broadcasts, but none are as active as the Lebanese Football Federation. We gradually recruited cameramen and commentators. We are working to develop a better organization for the 2022-2023 season, with a larger team dedicated to Direct. »
If the health crisis has allowed the Lebanese Football Federation to reflect and put in place new tools such as the Direct, the economic crisis is an obstacle to the optimization of this communication tool. Abi Faraj points out that “the country’s economic conditions make it even more difficult to stick to the budget. I have to do a lot of calculations before recruiting someone new. Before putting a plan in place, I must always refer to the executive committee so that the costs of the operation are studied and possibly approved. Everything has become more expensive, which has an impact on us financially. There is also an impact on the technical quality of the broadcasts due to the drop in quality of the Internet. ”
Substitution of the federation for broadcasters
Faced with broadcasters with limited budgets in this period of crisis, the Federation completed this year the broadcasts of MTV (holder of TV and digital rights for 600,000 dollars from 2019 to 2022) for the Lebanese first division. Abi Faraj clarifies that “MTV only has the first division. And the channel does not broadcast the six matches of each day of the first division. Some days it only aired three games and there was one day it only aired one, so we had to fill that void by airing those fixtures on our YouTube platform.
At the level of national team matches, the Federation has also, in some cases, completely replaced the broadcasters. Abi Faraj explains that “we took the digital rights of certain national team matches on Youtube, while the local television stations had not expressed interest in these rights. For example, the national team’s futsal matches could be broadcast on our platforms. Our policy is to follow all categories of national teams and we give them the same importance. »