Big Croatian Football Derby On Social

Some football matches are ”larger than life”. In Croatia, this is true for the match between Dinamo Zagreb and Hajduk Split. These two clubs are big rivals throughout their history and their matches always bring a lot of tensions and excitement.  Form and place on the table are not at all important, it’s simply that kind of a match when you bite you nails and ”fight” with your friends if they support the opposite team.

The background of this match was very interesting. Dinamo was 2nd on the table, and they needed a win against Hajduk if they wanted to keep their title hopes alive. Hajduk was in 4th place, 18 points behind Dinamo, and they are battling Osijek for 3rd place in the Championship. Hajduk was not successful against Dinamo this season, but winning this match could make their biggest rival’s life bitter. Moreover, Hajduk didn’t beat Dinamo in Zagreb in over 8 years.

Thing that heated up the atmosphere before the derby was the decision that one of Dinamo’s best players (and Hajduk’s black cat) Soudani is allowed to play. In Dinamo’s previous match Soudani commited an unsportsmanlike foul, and it seemed that he should’ve gotten a red card. However, the referee decided not to show the red. A few days later, after reviewing the play, Soudani was banned for the upcoming match against Hajduk, but that decision was revoked the day before the derby. That made Hajduk’s fans (and fans all yround the country) furious and heated things even more before this match. Dispite all the troubles Hajduk won this match 2:0. But we are not here to discuss the officiating, but to give you an overview of how the two teams communicated on social before, during and after the Great Croatian derby.

PRE MATCH

It seems that Dinamo put a lot of effort in making fans want to come to a match.  Invitations and statistics shared on their Facebook page seemed pretty motivational…

Series of posts named ”Legends predict” in which former players shared their memories of the Great derby and their score predicition for this game was one of the most interesting activities if you ask me.

Dinamo also posted ticket info, as well as the instructions on how to get to the stadium faster and cheaper. 10% discount on a taxi ride for those who use the code ”I love Dinamo” was a pretty classy move.

Facebook Live video from the press conference is something serious football clubs do on a regular basis…

Meanwhile, it seems that Hajduk’s weekly social media activities weren’t that focused on this match (which is sort of expected since Hajduk was the visiting team for this match). They posted ticket information, which is always helpful to their fans, photos from training, and a link to the story from their pre game press conference.

A thing that really ”spiced things up” was the photo below. It was Hajduk’s response  to a decision that Soudani will be allowed to play in this match. In the following text Hajduk’s president Ivan Kos claimed that decisions such as this one do much harm to Croatian football as a whole.

 

DURING THE MATCH

Both clubs started with some ”behind the scene” moments in which they show how players ”chill” before the big match.

Visually atractive lineups were also something that both clubs did.

One of the things that will make this match memorable were the T-shirts that Hajduk’s players wore during warmup. Hajduk wanted to make sure their message from the day before was heard, which  was much appreciated by their fans.   

Dinamo did a good thing by using Facebook Live.

Both clubs did live commentary on Twitter and Dinamo did the same on Facebook. Hajduk’s goals were celebrated with attractive graphics and so was the final result.

POST MATCH

After the match Dinamo was pretty quiet on social. Their final match activity on social media was the final score with a “Thank you” to all the fans who supported them during this match.

Meanwhile, Hajduk made the victory even bigger by sharing the team photo below and claiming that they are feeling respected. This was a nice way to round up the whole ”respect” story and make fans proud of this big victory.

It became even more interesting when a bit different version of this photo went viral in Croatian media and on social networks. Ironically, in the moment of Hajduk’s celebration, scoreboard in the background read: Thank you and come again!

Hajduk continued celebrating their victory with style. My favorite part was the video from the locker room in which players sang a popular Croatian song that can be translated as “Tonight is our party”.

#happiness #win #hajduk #respect 🔴🔵👏👏👏🙌🙌🙌😁😁😁

A post shared by HNK Hajduk Split (@hnkhajduk) on

#RESPECT ❤💙 #vecerasjenasafesta

A post shared by HNK Hajduk Split (@hnkhajduk) on

Hajduk also thanked the players who contributed the most in this victory.

Standard content such as the short match overview, press conference and gallery from the match were also shared so fans can relive those great moments.

 

 

It was also nice to see that some fans’ festive tweets were retweeted.

SUMMARY

Dinamo had excellent pre match activities and it’s really sad that only around 11,000 of their fans came to this match. In my opinion, posts that ”spark emotions” were lacking in Hajduk’s prematch activities. From such a club, who often lives on fans’ emotions, those kind of posts are somewhat expected and neccessary. Despite this, Hajduk used the ”Soudani saga” very wisely because disapproval with that decision was shown in a very smooth way. This was a proof that just a little spark is enough to start a fire. Both clubs did a good job in covering this match with live commentary and making the fans feel like they are really a part of it.

And as it almost always is, after the match activities can be described as ”The winner takes it all”. Hajduk almost made the maximum of this victory by sharing lots of interesting festive content. Hajduk’s fans waited this victory for years so it felt right to prolong the celebration. If someone asked me for advice, I would, as some kind of ”icing on a cake”, invite fans to show how they celebrated the victory, or treat them with a fan shop discount.

Meanwhile, Dinamo had a pretty dissapointing “finish” for me.  Yeah, I understand that losing such an important match is not a pleasant situation at all, but fans definitely deserve more than just a ”Thank you”. A photo gallery, video from the press conference or a short overview should be a minimum when it comes to post match activities. Reminding fans that they are still in second place and still a title contender is something that would make things much better. Pre match activities set the bar real high, so lack of post match activities gives the impression that something is left undone.

CONSLUSION

After everything, it seems that this match will be one of those that fans will remember for a long time. Combination of a great sports story (Hajduk’s victory in Maksimir after 8 years) and everything that ”spiced” this derby up (Soudani saga, Respect story and ”Polite scoreboard”) reminded everyone why football is so interesting to watch. Social media activities of both clubs just give this story an extra dimension.

For me, three most important lessons from this derby are:

  1. Turn everything that comes your way into your winning “weapon”
  2. Find a way to make your big victory even bigger
  3. Defeat is not a defeat if you find a way to become bigger than it

I hope that these two clubs (and all the others) will learn something from this.

 

Brankica Mandić

Brankica Mandić

Overtime Sports Marketing

If you have any questions about sports marketing, feel free to contact me at brankica@promoovertime.com

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