In a move that could strengthen Facebook‘s presence as a major content hub, the company has launched Explore London in response to this summer’s Olympic Games.
The dedicated hub provides viewers with historical photographs and other information about notable events in an effort to make the Games more social.
Explore London also brings viewers inside the Games by aggregating links to Pages owned by athletes, teams, and the sports they’ll be competing in. By Liking any of these Pages, members will receive Olympic content in their News Feeds, including personalized updates and photos from the Games.
Currently only 250 of more than 10,000 Olympic athletes are on Facebook — although the company expects this number to increase significantly during the coming weeks.
Facebook’s timing on this couldn’t be better, well, unless you’re Twitter. Last week the microblogging site introduced Hashtag Pages in a partnership with NASCAR. The promoted pages act as destinations where fans can find real-time information and additional content about products and events.
Unlike Twitter, however, this isn’t an official partnership between Facebook and the International Olympic Committee. In fact, Facebook won’t even be able to monetize this effort. Due to the IOC’s strict sponsorship deals, the social network has pulled all advertising from the hub. Instead, Facebook hopes to demonstrate to brands and businesses how it can encourage engagement and spread content virally.
Surprisingly, a recent study revealed that only 33 percent of sports fans use Twitter to follow their favorite sports teams, compared to Facebook, which 89 percent of fans favor.
While it’s unlikely that Facebook will be the only platform providing social coverage for the Olympic Games, it will be interesting to see how fans react to this experiment. If successful, marketers and athletes might need to ramp up their presence on Facebook.