Google teams up with Nike for ‘Joga’ football fan site

Google and Nike have linked up to create an online community or social networking site for football fans – www.joga.com – to take advantage of the football frenzy that will be whipped up by the World Cup in Germany. The site builds on Nike’s latest advertising campaign, fronted by French football legend Eric Cantona.

The site is available in 14 languages and will allow fans to upload pictures, news and comment; create their own online clubs and access information about Nike’s Joga3 tournaments. There will also be exclusive content, including interviews, on Nike’s stable of football stars, which includes Wayne Rooney. The site, which is registered to Google, is only accessible by invitation and is officially in “beta” testing. It is understood to be the first time that Google has created and maintained a site for a third party in this way.

A Google spokesman says: “Social networks enable users to connect with friends and people who share their interests, as well as to information that is important to them – which is part of Google’s mission.”

The site links in with Nike’s new ad campaign, created by Wieden & Kennedy Amsterdam, which shows Cantona taking over a TV sports broadcast to encourage footballers to “joga bonito” – the Portuguese for “play beautiful”. The ads contrast examples of fouls and bad football with clips of “beautiful” football from stars such as Brazil’s Ronaldinho and England’s Rooney.

The ads and the website also promote Joga3, a new cut-down, three-a-side, form of football, which Nike says is intended to develop greater skill.

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