Watching the World Cup is always FUN, but this year is especially EASY as well. Coincidentally this four year cycle has matched up with sizable events in my life which in turn, have lead me to develop an enhanced nostalgia every time the World Cup comes around. Since I'm not usually a big live sports watcher, the quadrennial World Cups have become a compelling barometer of the changes in my life and the parallel tech advancements.
World Cup France 1998 - Visiting Tijuana before starting High School
- My main memory is that the official song was "La Copa de la Vida" by Ricky Martin. To further date it this was before the "Latin Explosion" in pop & a good decade before he came out of the closet.
- Casual use of the internet was just starting to become part of my daily life and that usage was primarily browsing X-Files fan sites and AIM chat. I definitely did not have any internet access at my Grandma's house in Mexico.
- Only saw a few games that I caught live on broadcast TV. Any other info had to come from TV news or newspapers. Ricky was on MTV Latino around the clock, though.
World Cup Korea/Japan 2002 - France, Portugal & Spain trip before starting College
- At this point the internet was actively part of my life, but still mainly for teen entertainment purposes i.e. Napster downloading with dial-up on my Dell PC.
- I had a Yahoo email address, but any communication with my family was through long distance phone calls. Americans were not into texting yet & absolutely no social networking was happening.
- I did have my first cell phone and point & shoot digital camera by then, but I didn't bring them. I could not afford the extra SD cards or long distance roaming charges.
- All games were watched live on TV at bars & cafes (usually over brunch because of the time difference).
World Cup Germany 2006 - Graduating College in Chicago
- Internet revolution is complete. YouTube, Facebook, Google & Amazon all now official huge & completely commonplace.
- Even with broadband, live video streaming is still not up to snuff. Game viewing was still only on the TV.
- Although you could get up to the moment updates of the matches online, you still needed to by a computer and also near a wifi hotspot.
- Audio podcast were around by now. I would download those daily in the morning to my iPod to get the reviews and upcoming predictions of all of the games.
- My cell phone was still used only for phone calls and occasionally texting. I would purchase my first smartphone Palm later that year.
World Cup South Africa 2010 - Living in NYC
- Pretty close the experience we now, but everything is the slightly worse version.
- Streaming is just coming into it's own, but can't quite be fully trusted. You need a ESPN cable log-in or take you chances with a choppy feed somewhere else. I still trust the TV more than my sporadic broadband connection.
- I had an iPhone by now which I use to get real time scores, updates and other information online, but I still need to sync my phone to update apps, songs, photos & podcasts, no cloud yet.
- Texting & email are now the main form of communication and planning to watch with friends or comment on the games if apart. Twitter & Facebook posts commenting on the match are typical.
This year I can watch all the games live in HD through public broadcast TV or stream on Univision as they happen (I can also Chromecast that feed to my TV if I want). Afterward the highlights are all up on ESPN within seconds after the matches are over and the videos/graphics all load instantly over wifi or 4G. I'm loving seeing the amazing Instagram & Vine updates as they happen. Now I can't wait for that Tupac/Pele hologram showdown in 2018!