LONDON 2012: Facebook Unveils Olympics Page to Prepare for First 'Social' Games

4:39 AM PST 06/18/2012 by Georg Szalai

"These Olympics, every story has the potential to be heard," says Facebook executive Joanna Shields.

 

Facebook on Monday unveiled plans to put a big spotlight on the London 2012 Summer Olympics via a page that compiles content tied to the Games and its athletes ahead of what the social network and organizers said would become the first "social" Olympics.

The Facebook Olympics page, Explore London 2012, is designed to make the social network a big part of the social media conversation around the Olympics, the company said.

It puts all pages related to the Games in one place. People can go through the list and clicking "like" on the content that interests them most, with updates from the page then appearing on their news feed. Facebook will also offer historical photographs and data tied to the Olympics.

"With an audience of 900 million people, enough to fill the Olympics Stadium 11 thousand times over, Explore London 2012 will help fans join the conversation and share their Olympic stories," Facebook said. "London 2012 is set to be the most talked about sporting event in history as fans and athletes from around the world come together to share their Olympic stories on Facebook."

The network teamed up with the International Olympics Committee more than a year ago for the effort. So far, about 250 of the more than 10,000 athletes in the Games have started using the Facebook page, but the company expects usage to increase in the run-up to the Games. The U.K. delegation of athletes, known at home as "Team GB," has posts from the likes of heptathlon star Jessica Ennisand diver Tom Daley, for example.

www.facebook.com/pages/olympics features information on athletes, national teams and Olympic sports, with broadcasters and sponsors coming soon. Facebook will not sell ads around the Olympics pages.

Joanna Shields, vp and managing director, EMEA at Facebook, said: "The Olympic Games have always produced incredible stories. Some make headlines, but many never find an audience. These Olympics, every story has the potential to be heard."

She added: "On Facebook, all athletes can have an audience, and every fan can track how their heroes are doing, support them, encourage them, and share their stories with the world."

Mark Adams, director of communications at the International Olympic Committee, said: "The Olympics has been connecting fans with memorable sporting events and moments for more than a century, first in the stadiums, then through television and now on social media. It makes sense to give fans the best experience we can and these will be the first truly 'social' Games."

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com
Twitter: @georgszalai

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