FA Cup semi-finals to be first to feature social networkers pitchside
Remember the hoo-hah about the Olympic ticket rules that suggested you wouldn't be able to take pictures using your phone inside the stadiums? Well, it turned out to be nonsense in the end, but Budweiser, sponsor of the FA Cup, is ensuring that no such flannel surrounds this weekend's semi-finals.
When Wigan vs Millwall, and Manchester City vs Chelsea kick-off at Wembley on Saturday and Sunday respectively, they will do so in front of two specially chosen "phoneographers". Two amateur photographers who have made a name for themselves on the 'net taking pictures solely on their smartphones have been selected to chronicle the action next to the professional photographers pitchside and tweet the resulting shots live.
Other football fans in the stadium or watching at home or in a pub are also encouraged to share their smartphone pictures of their experiences during the FA Cup semis. All they have to do is follow @BudweiserUK and use the same hashtag as the Phonographers themselves: #tothedream.
The end results may even appear in a Budweiser fan film TV advert to be screened during the final on 11 May.
Budweiser has often explored ways to use technology to bolster its FA Cup sponsorship, with augmented reality apps being utilised in previous seasons and screening initial round matches via Facebook, however, this is the first time social networking has been accepted as a valid means to tell the story of the tournament through the fans' eyes. We approve wholeheartedly.