Analytics from Smelter.ai, a media monitoring platform, compared two of the most popular headline stories of World Cup 2022 picked up by fans: The ‘Metro Man’ by Abubakr Abbas and Son Heung-min’s Zorro mask. Both stories have gone viral during the last two weeks, making their presence in the world press and social media. The results are as follows.
Smelter.ai states that Abubakr Abbass, World Cup employee who directed fans to the metro station, received 219 756 interactions in the media in the past two weeks. It is by 40 times more than another high resonance story of Son Heung-min’s Zorro mask that only got 5 344 media engagements.
Abubakr Abbass, 23, born in Mombasa, Kenya. In September this year, he applied for a job at the World Cup to navigate fans. Abubakr guided fans to the metro station near the historic market Souq Waqif using a giant foam hand and a megaphone as he was sitting on top of a tennis-umpire chair. Videos of him showed fans responding to Abbass’ “metro” chants and joining in the fun. His popularity grew so much that even FIFA officials acknowledged his contribution and awarded him gifts. The Metro Guy’s fame further shot up when FIFA officials invited him to a jam-packed stadium before England and the USA game kicked off. On Twitter, ‘ Metro man’ has been mentioned 7621 times, whereas on Youtube received 156 342 engagements, including views, likes, and comments.
The story went viral on social media and got broad coverage in the press. According to Smelter.ai, Metro Man has been mentioned on the world news 411 times since the 24th of November. World Media that have covered the story include BBC, AlJazeera, Euronews, The Straits Times, RFI, The Indian Express, and others. Some of the headings include:
Qatar’s internet sensation ‘Metro Man’ wins hearts during FIFA World Cup
Metro Man: Kenyan TikToker at World Cup Says He Got to Qatar by Sheer Luck
More popular than Ronaldo?… World Cup Surprise Star’ Metro Man’
‘Metro, this way’: Man becomes internet sensation for guiding fans to Metro station in Qatar for FIFA World Cup
Do You Know About The Metro Guy? The 2022 FIFA World Cup Viral Sensation Has Got Many Fans
Son Heung-min, South Korea national team captain and football hero, recently underwent surgery on a fracture around his eye. He appeared in the match against Uruguay in a protective Zorro-like face mask. South Korean fans greatly supported his bravery and courage, setting up a viral trend in respect to the player. Son Heung-min was engaged on social media 1649 times, and his name has been mentioned in the press 355 times, including DailyMail, The Sun, Eurosport, Independent, The Guardian, Korea Times, and others.
Why is Son Heung-min wearing a mask during South Korea’s match against Ghana at World Cup 2022?
Son wants to give fans “joy and hope” after training in mask
South Korea fans pay tribute to Son Heung-min’s fractured eye socket by donning Zorro-like protective masks in the stands during World Cup opener against Uruguay
The Son Heung-min effect on Asian football
Analytics from Smelter.ai compared two headline stories based on their mentions and engagements on social networks (Twitter, YouTube) and the press. The analysis has been done in English, considering a worldwide audience.