#ThereInSpirit: Instagram brings football fans closer with new initiative

Football star Omar Al Somah joins initiative to welcome back Saudi football season; hosts bespoke filter to celebrate the return

Instagram is welcoming the Saudi football season back with a brand-new initiative – #ThereinSpirit – that seeks to encourage fans to come together and in a single voice, share their love of the game in creative ways. To help fans express their excitement, Instagram has partnered with popular footballing star Omar Al Somah (@somah) to launch a voice-activated AR filter, tailor-made for its Saudi users, that will allow fans to bring their best stadium cheer to the platform.

With Saudi Arabia’s iconic stadiums quiet for the rest of the season as games are played without the presence of fans, Instagram is calling on fans to cheer through the sound-activated filter. The bi-lingual filter features icons inspired by the game with an exciting voice-activated effect that responds to commentary and cheers. The filter can be found on Omar Al Somah’s official accounts on Instagram. You can see how the new effect looks here.

“This is a big moment for us – football has always been a great unifier in Saudi Arabia but with matches taking place in isolation, fans are being deprived of the energy of live, stadium events. This initiative is a great antidote – it channels that energy, excitement and exhilaration, unites our voices and shows the players on field that although we might be cheering from home, we are #ThereinSpirit,” said Al Somah.

In addition to Al Somah, popular content creators including Tarek AlHarbi (@6ar8o), Abdulrahman Al Shamri (@a.awd), Waleed Al Farraj (@waleed_alfarraj), Saja Kamal (@jajozz), Ibrahim Basha (@ibrahimbasha) and Ibraheem Alkhairallah (@fatkhairo) will also be taking to Instagram to share their thoughts and excitement surrounding the resumption of the season. With an arsenal of tools at their disposal – Instagram Live, IGTV, Instagram Stories, Feed and the custom filter – they will join football fans in the Kingdom in welcoming the games back to the stadiums.

“Instagram is the home for creators and young people who have established communities and connections, and already do amazing things on the platform. Many of these young creators are also avid football fans and this initiative allows them to use their talents to express their support for their teams. At a time when fans are unable to physically attend matches, our #ThereInSpirit campaign creates that sense of community and allows them to express their unwavering support for their teams regardless of where they might be.” said Samer Jamal, MENA Strategic Partnerships Manager at Instagram.

With the season on pause, in the wake of measures taken to combat COVID-19 in the Kingdom, Instagram has witnessed its community taking to the platform to continue celebrating the sport. Over the past two months, football has been a conversational mainstay on the platform in the Kingdom. With over 14K users on Instagram debating and discussing past and upcoming matches, football has been the most talked about sport on Instagram in Saudi Arabia, in comparison to other sports such as basketball or cricket. Instagram has also seen fans continue to show their enthusiasm for the sport and their teams by taking to Stories and using football-focused filters and stickers.