The anti-containment remedy for athletes


Between unpublished confessions and freedom of rare tone, the sportsmen engage more than ever on the social networks.

Karim Benzema and Ronaldo have become exercise experts.

The uncontrolled slippages of the pioneer Serge Aurier on the Periscope application in 2016 are definitely forgotten: from Karim Benzema to the Brazilian legend Ronaldo, the confinement pushed several sports stars to step out of the limelight to interact live with their millions of followers. Even Rafael Nadal, who experienced all the trouble in the world in mastering the Instagram tool for his first time, went there during a tennis match at the top with Roger Federer.

“Insofar as the competitions are suspended, the athletes are no longer necessarily supervised by the club’s press officer. Therefore, there is a barrier that falls and promotes direct rapprochement with the fans: the athlete becomes his own media and can speak on subjects on which we did not hear before, “explains Boris Helleu, expert digital strategies in sport. With his “Nueve Live”, it’s Karim Benzema, more aware of the subtleties of the platform where he is one of the most followed French personalities in the world with 33.6 million subscribers, who has for instant won the audience match.

Five star casting

Between giggles, your laid-back tone without a “wooden tongue”, a game of “neither yes or no” and verbal jousts with blows of “dung” or “you’re off” – his favorite expressions -, the Real Madrid striker has split armor to reveal part of his universe and his passions: from hip-hop with rappers Alonzo and Lacrim, to humor with Malik Bentalha and Thomas Ngijol. In just two “broadcasts”, “KB9” brought together almost a million people, with a peak of 130,000 live viewers.

The recipe for this buzz? The size and commitment of its “fanbase”, but also the cast of the guests. And in this game there, difficult to do better than his idol Ronaldo “Fenomeno”, who managed to interview the president of FIFA Gianni Infantino or to bring together David Beckham, Roberto Carlos, Iker Casillas or Luis Figo to remember the memories of the “Galactics” of Real Madrid.

From Portuguese to English, via Spanish or Italian, the Brazilian double Ballon d’Or took news of his former teammates and their families as if he was making a private call … under the the gaze of tens of thousands of people. Enough to offer a convivial moment through the story of unknown anecdotes, while putting its notoriety at the service of the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic through the same message: “Stay at home”.

During a 24-hour charity “live” on their Twitch channel, Antoine Griezmann and his brother Théo, for example, multiplied the games of Call of Duty with the main influencers of the world of video games. Result: 29,200 euros raised in favor of the Red Cross.

– “Wrong picture” –

The interest is above all to be better known to the general public. Because beyond the acid “punchlines” on Mathieu Valbuena and Olivier Giroud which focused the attention of the media, Benzema revealed a “frank talk” as natural as confusing by taking in particular the defense of the striker Valère Germain, unjustly bullied in his eyes by Marseille supporters.

“The analysis error would be to consider that it is coasting, when not. The difficulty of the exercise is, on the contrary, to be authentic, not to be a tap of lukewarm water. And this for once, he does it well, ”says Boris Helleu.

With this tool “a lot of footballers aim to take the opposite view of the wrong image of the guy just good at kicking a ball, showing that they have a personality, humor, an opinion”, adds the lecturer at the University of Caen.

Main victims of the stoppage of competitions, will traditional TV broadcasts be overtaken in the long term by these “live” events with a large audience, in particular popular with the youngest? “Previously, the word of the sportsman existed and was only possible through the traditional press. Now this is no longer the case, ”recalls Mr. Helleu. “Once the championship has resumed, it would be interesting to see if Benzema says: We had a good time, I keep this appointment.” His followers are just waiting for that!


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