Manchester United and Aston Villa’s Carling Cup clash ‘the first digital cup final’

22 February 2010 | Posted in Notes & Insights | By Michael Long | Contact the author

Sponsor Carling is billing Sunday's Carling Cup final, which sees Premier League champions Manchester United take on Aston Villa at Wembley, as the first ever digital cup final.

The leading lager brand is giving fans the opportunity to join a digital roll of honour as part of the trophy celebrations, post messages on Wembley Way, create their own personalised banners inside the stadium and take part in the biggest-ever live Twitter commentary.

In a first for a cup final, Carling is giving supporters the chance to virtually join their team for the trophy lift with the names of 100 lucky supporters celebrated on advertising boards around the stadium at the very moment the winning captain of either Manchester United or Aston Villa holds the trophy aloft.

The sponsor has also converted the iconic Bobby Moore Bridge into a giant message board for fans, whilst inside Wembley Carling has handed over a third of its pitch-side advertising for fans to create their own personalised banners at the final. Supporters can submit their messages and banners at the Carling website with the best 100 of each featured outside and inside Wembley on the day.

The sponsor has pledged to give a £1 donation to the Bobby Moore Fund for Cancer Research UK for every new banner design or message submitted – the brewer is hoping to raise £10,000. 

Carling is also challenging fans to join in the biggest ever live Twitter commentary by using the hash tag #CCF10 for tweets related to the final and submitting their comments at @thecarlingcup. The sponsor will track the levels of activity across the social media platform as well as the topics supporters are discussing around the game via a new Tweet-o-Meter which the brewer has created with students at University College London.

Finally, Villa and United supporters will even be asked to choose some of the music on the day – a shortlist of songs will be posted at the Carling website and the song which receives the most votes will be featured in the post-match celebrations.

"Our ambition is always to give fans a bigger voice and get them involved with the competition every step of the way – the great thing about digital activity is that it gives everyone the opportunity to have their say in what should be a superb occasion," said Carling brand director Martin Coyle said.

"With all the activity we've got lined up on Sunday we genuinely believe that this is the first ever digital cup final. It should be a cracking game and if our activity can add a little more to the overall experience then it'll be a great way to celebrate 50 years of the competition." 

Stephanie Moore MBE added: "I know Bobby would have been very proud to be linked to this fantastic initiative and I am delighted that it is raising money for bowel cancer research in his memory. Bowel cancer claimed his life in 1993 and the disease continues to claim the lives of 44 men and women every day in this country."

Manchester United defeated their local rivals Manchester City in the semi-final to book their place at Wembley, while Aston Villa beat Blackburn Rovers 7-4 on aggregate after a thrilling 6-4 second leg at Villa Park.

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