Author Archives | Dan Mclaren

New club app from Football League the answer to match-day internet access?

New club app from Football League the answer to match-day internet access?

Last year a project called Digital Stadium was being tested in a collaboration between the University of Sussex, Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Corridor Design which looked at how modern smartphone apps can be used to build new ways of communicating within stadiums.

Currently the ideal of making stadiums ‘fully connected’ comes at a huge expense. Only the likes of Manchester City, Celtic, Rangers, Liverpool (in one stand) and other teams in the US and Europe have invested in such projects which can cost £1m+. With many stadiums starting the creak with age its not something as easy as many might think to set up.

So for clubs in the Football League it presents many problems. With many spending more than they bring in on players in a bid to hit the heights of the Premier League, they just don’t have the resources to invest in projects such as stadium connectivity. It’s not that they don’t want to better engage with fans and give them an enhanced experience – which is becoming a must – it’s just down to resource.

But where there is a scarcity there often comes innovation. And this is the problem in which the Digital Stadium project has looked to become the ultimate solution. The benefits for clubs are obvious; better customer experience, food/ticketing offerings, expanded sponsorship options, use of player/match data to enhance the match day experience, in play betting, etc.

But the high numbers of people in a small space, all of whom now expect to be able to get online whenever they want to, has led to many problems in nailing the solution. Dr Ian Wakeman, founder of the company behind the app, told theengineer.co.uk:

“Typically when you go to a football match you’re in a crowd of 30,000 people and those people are all contesting for the available basestation bandwidth. Most people can’t get a connection and you have a really bad experience on your mobile phone. TribeHive uses software rather than hardware to build a network directly between all of the mobile phones running the app and shares the connectivity you can get to pull down updates.”

The initial prototype Android apps were first deployed in April 2013 to 100 volunteer season ticket holders at Brighton, and were refined over a number of iterations till the underlying networking technology was robust, and was deployed stadium wide on the Play Store from September 2013.  The Apple iOS version soon followed.

The app provides services the fans want, from live scores, match statistics, league tables, fixtures and results, through to news and player profiles.  Live rail and bus information eases the journey of fans into and out of the stadium, whilst the ability to see both club and personal Twitter timelines, and to post Tweets whilst at the match increased the club’s social media profile.

For the club, a scrolling ticker at the bottom of the app delivered customisable messages to the fans, allowing the club to deliver messages appropriate to the match, such as beer discounts after the match.  The app delivered detailed analytics of what fans looked at, all accessible through a customised web console.

Technically, the app demonstrated that the DTN technology could increase the apparent connectivity by over 50%, particularly at key times, such as pre-match, half-time and immediately post-match. The feedback from the fans was that the app was a great success, proving the acceptability of this space-age technology to football fans.

An expanded version of the app is now being trialled by six clubs – QPR, Birmingham City, Bolton, Brighton & Hove Albion, Middlesbrough and Watford. It looks on the face of it to be a normal club app that brings together latest club news, results, live scores, etc. But there is more to it than that. The Software developed by TribeHive (the business spun out from the Digital Stadium project and run by Dr Ian Wakeman) improves connectivity in the stadium by building a network directly between smartphones and sharing updates to the app.

ciaran         CurrentMatch

So for both clubs and the fan attending games this solution could be a godsend to them. At April’s Manchester event we spoke with Everton’s Scott McLeod said that they had looked at most of the Wi-Fi options for Goodison Park without finding a solution that he felt suited their needs and budget. Something like this could be a perfect fit.

So what does the future hold for the technology and for TribeHive? Dr Ian Wakeman told us;

Our aim in building the HiveCore technology is to provide a usable digital channel for all, using cheap software rather than expensive hardware.  As football fans, we care a lot about both improving the stadium experience and keeping tickets affordable, and we believe that the HiveCore technology is a step in the right direction.

If you’re a Brighton fan we’d love to hear about your experience of using the app. If you’re one of the new teams announced, what do you think about the idea?

 

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Wimbledon 2014: A Digital Review

Wimbledon 2014: A Digital Review

At the last Digital Sport London event we were lucky enough to have with us Wimbledon’s Content & Communication Manager Alexandra Willis. Alexandra spoke last year at our half day London event so it was interesting to hear their plans for this year and how they turned out.

Just before this years Championship I interviewed Alexandra for the website to get some early insights into what they had in store for us (you can read the full interview here) and the interest in what they were doing was obvious from the attention the article received. So an audience of around 70 people listened intently to what Alex had to say on stage at Riley’s Sports Bar.

An award winning year, picking up ‘Brand of the Year’ at the BT Sport Industry Awards and ‘Best Technology Winner’ at the Sports Technology Awards, meant that they had a lot to live up to this time around. And if anyone tuned into any of the digital platforms this year you were not left disappointed.

Not only was there a new mobile app and an improved experience across iPad, the main website and using video. But they also managed to introduce new social media and digital activities to draw fans even closer to the action. Partnering with tech firm (and #DSLondon sponsor) Grabyo to release near real-time video clips was a great move.

As was the Social Media Command Centre (great for monitoring and content) and Hill v World (getting everyone involved both at the event and at home). This led to some impressive stats, all of which you can see in the presentation slides available below.

 

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4 Things We Learnt from the Glasgow 2014 Opening Ceremony

4 Things We Learnt from the Glasgow 2014 Opening Ceremony

Guest Post: This article is from Brandwatch and published with their permission as part of the ongoing sponsorship of the Digital Sport London 2014 series.

The 2014 Commonwealth Games kicked off on Wednesday night with 4,950 athletes, 2,000 performers, 71 Scottie dogs and 1 awkward baton. As always, Twitter users were not shy in voicing their opinions with over a quarter of a million tweets posted during the ceremony.

So what can we learn from the abundance of data posted online last night?


1. Unicef Shone on the Global Stage

The link-up between Glasgow 2014 and Unicef was the first of its kind for the Games and has – so far – been an undeniable success.

£2.5million was raised in just one hour for the children’s charity, yet the recognition the brand gained may have been even more valuable.

Topics component

Unicef’s appeal was mentioned just over 20,000 times on the web – undeniably impressive.

Standing out during an event of this magnitude can be tough due to the huge amount of online chat, yet Unicef stayed top of most online trends.

To put this in context; the four other main sponsors for the Games received a total of just 2% of the mentions relating to sponsors, the other 97% was attributed towards Unicef.

Pie chart comparing sponsors

BP, Ford and Scottish and Southern Electric must do more to make to make the most out of their sponsorship.

@Unicef_UK tweeted live throughout the event sparking online conversation about their brand.

Whereas, @BP_plc@FordUK and @SSE did not live tweet and therefore lost out on a unique chance to raise brand awareness.

Virgin Media did tweet during the event but only via their second, less popular account@VMLoves.

So, we award Unicef with a gold medal for their committed social media presence last night!  Other sponsors still have time to raise awareness for their brand, but to do so they must commit themselves to the Commonwealth story.


2. Usain Bolt is as Popular as Ever

As most of you can imagine, Bolt’s arrival at the games dominated the athlete chatter on social media.

61% of the conversation was about the fastest man in the world, while 22% spoke about Bradley Wiggins.

Only a measly 10% mentioned Mo Farah – so a bad few days for the now injured long distance runner.

Bolt will hopefully light up our screens again this summer with some more of his record breaking displays.

With the track sport rife with doping bans, a clean and popular winner will help direct the sport back on track.


3. People Really Do Feel ‘Better in the Morning’

 

Interestingly for any sleep advocates out there, people became more positive about the opening ceremony once they’d had a good night’s kip.

sentiment comparison

Twitter users were also less likely to criticize the ceremony after resting.

Maybe the old age adage that ‘you’ll feel better in the morning’ has some tangible meaning behind it after all.


4. Rod is ‘Sailing’ ahead of Susan

Famed for having one of the most viewed YouTube videos of all time, Susan Boyle seems to have lost the spark that once made her so interesting to watch.

Rod Stewart had almost double the amount of mentions Susan Boyle received during the Commonwealth curtain raiser.

Comparing Susan to Rod

Despite both being on stage for a similar amount of time, Boyle’s appearance did not leave a lasting effect on journalists.

News articles this morning mentioned her performance only 60 times, whereas Rod Stewart’s performance was acclaimed over 140 times.

 

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City’s fan engagement loud and clear with social media voice messaging service

City’s fan engagement loud and clear with social media voice messaging service

Barclays Premier League Champions, Manchester City, have expanded their global social media presence by joining the leading voice messaging service, Bubbly.

With over forty million subscribers around the world, Bubbly allows users to create their own 90 second voice blog, or listen to voice recordings from a host of celebrities from the world of film, sports, comedy and music.

Users can also add a photograph with 140 characters of text, and share their favourite posts with their Facebook friends and Twitter followers.

Based in Singapore and designed primarily to cater for the 4 billion consumers in emerging Asian markets that still use feature phones, the service has seen rapid growth since its launch in 2011.

As part of the new Manchester City Bubbly account, the Club will release exclusive voice recordings from City stars such as Sergio Aguero, Joe Hart, Vincent Kompany and Samir Nasri.

Players will also record interviews in their native languages, including French, German, Portuguese, Spanish and Serbo-Croatian in order to engage with City’s multi-lingual global fan base.

From post-match interviews to Club features, the voice messages will give fans an insight into what goes on behind the scenes at their favourite club.

Commenting on the new Bubbly account, Diego Gigliani, Director of Marketing, Media and Fan Development for Manchester City, said:

“As the Club continues to attract fans from across the world and our global community grows, we will constantly seek out new and engaging ways to connect with supporters, particularly through the use of popular social media platforms, like Bubbly.

“Whether it’s through pre and post-match interviews on the pitch, or getting to know their favorite players off it, Bubbly will enable the Club to have more frequent, short-form touch-points with our fans across the world, bringing them closer to the club and helping to build deeper relationships.”

This sentiment was shared by Bubbly CEO, Thomas Clayton, who added:

“We’re ecstatic that Manchester City has chosen to connect with their fans using their real voices on Bubbly.  With the new season just around the corner, it’s a fun time to check out what these guys have to say about what’s ahead.”

Manchester City fans and followers, can access exclusive content online by visiting www.bubbly.net/MCFC, by downloading the Bubbly app on their smart phones, or by using the access codes for their feature phones.”

 

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#DSLondon 10 with The Football League & Wimbledon [event]

#DSLondon 10 with The Football League & Wimbledon [event]

Thank you to everyone who took time out to come along to last month’s successful Digital Sport London looking at the use of analytics and data in sport. Tomorrow night (23rd July) we’re taking a broader look at digital sport with insights into two different sports from those who work directly in it.

The venue has changed this month as we move back to Rileys Sports Bar (Haymarket) in the centre of London. Back in January 2013 we held a very successful event at the venue with the ever engaging Richard Ayers. Hopefully we will be back at this venue on a regular basis over the coming months.

Firstly we’ll be chatting to Russell Scott who looks after the digital team at The Football League. He’s been in the role for around a year now and has made some significant changes to both the internal set up of the organisation to bring it into the modern age and also externally with new mobile sites, live blogging platforms and training for the 90 football clubs who are part of Football league Interactive. Not to mention a revamp of their own digital channels and content to fill them.

I will be chatting to Russell and also give time for people to ask questions from the audience or on Twitter. You can also leave a question in the comment box at the bottom of this post if you’d like to do it that way too.

Following a drinks break (very important in sport) we’ll be hearing from Alexandra Willis. She will be taking us through the digital activities they employed at last month’s Wimbledon to engage with fans in ever more interesting and in-depth ways, both those within the grounds and others who are watching/keeping up to date around the world.

Again there will be opportunities to ask Alex questions and tap into her knowledge. I will be putting a few questions to her and, as with Russell, there are a number of ways in which you can get involved.

Thank you to our series sponsors; Brandwatch, Grabyo and Rawnet. Both Brandwatch and Grabyo will be demonstrating their products at the event so be sure to say hi and find out more about what they do and how they can potentially help your business (or clients).

There are over 50 people already signed up, so there is plenty of networking to be done over a couple of mid week drinks. Join us from 6pm (first talk starts at 7pm) by visiting the link below to book your place…

 

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Interview: How the Open Championship is utilising iBeacons, Wi-Fi and storytelling

Interview: How the Open Championship is utilising iBeacons, Wi-Fi and storytelling

Tomorrow sees this year’s Open Golf Championship take place at Royal Liverpool. Starting on Thursday it sees the world’s top golfers, including Tiger Woods after a lengthly absence through injury, come to our shores for one of the most testing events on the golfing calendar.

Golf has been a sport that has embraced digital advances over the past few years, at the top end at least. You can find most players on Twitter (more so than Facebook) and each major event looks to engage with the thousands of fans who come through the gates, as well as the millions who tune in on TV.

Kevin Bain is the R&A’s Digital Manager who is based most of the time in the beautiful town of St. Andrews (the home my family originates from). Last week I was delighted that Kevin could take some time out of his hectic diary to speak to me about what their plans are for this years event.

Wi-Fi

One of the biggest investments that was trialled last year and is now being expanded upon is the installation of wifi points around the course. 350 access points have now been installed giving Wi-Fi coverage on every grandstand.

The test took place at Muirfield where the whole course had fibre optic cable installed with 200 access points. It was promoted in venue and allowed for video streaming as well as scoring and other information. It was 30k people use the facility with a peak of 3.5k concurrent users.

One of the most interesting findings was around usage – they expected video streaming to be the key driver but it turned out that GPS tracking of players on the course was the most used feature, showing who was teeing off from where and what their current score was.

iBeacons are another development which has been trialled in a small way before and are now being tested on a larger scale. In the US they are being utilised around many sports stadiums and they are proving to be a useful way in which to communicate with people around the course.

There will be a welcome message at the pay gate at the course and one of the incentives is being entered into a prize draw for tickets for next years Open. Certainly one that many keen golf fans attending will be open to. Also, at the 3rd hole there will trial messaging informing fans about which players are coming through. Something useful that will help them decide at which point they want to be to see they’re favourite players.

Social Media

#OpenMoments was launched one week out from the tournament. They started asking fans about what their favourite Open moments are and they will then use they’re archive of images and video’s to show fans those that have been most mentioned. More than 100 videos were ready to go when they launched.

They’re also been helping to promote the #OpenCountdown from the host course, Royal Liverpool, with both campaigns aimed at boosting awareness of the event and excitement amongst golf fans.

open moments

They are also working with a company I know well, Storystream. This new social wall will allow fans to see all the conversations in one place from players, fans and official accounts from the organisers. They’re are already some great images and videos available on there. So make sure you check out social.theopen.com 

If you’ve been in the Liverpool are you may well have seen a bus going around with advertising on it for the tournament. To win tickets to go to the golf all fans had to do if they spotted it was to tweet in a picture of it and use the hashtag #OpenBus to win.

There are also the more usual digital features for fans to use such as the Open app to get scores, radio commentary, video stream, etc. Plus you can find out everything you need to know across Facebook and Twitter. This year has seen another Twitter first for the event as they have launched a Japanese language feed. This helps them tap into the 3rd largest golf market in the world, behind the US and UK.

Thanks to Kevin for taking the time out to let us know about their plans. I’m lucky enough to be going this week to find out more about how it looks from behind-the-scenes. Look out for the tweets from @danielmclaren.

2013 open

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Some memorable moments from the most social World Cup ever!

Some memorable moments from the most social World Cup ever!

It’s all over. The most connected World Cup. The most digital World Cup. The most social World Cup…ever.

New sporting records were set for tweets sent, Facebook interactions and inappropriate photos involving Mario Balotelli and the Queen.

But with everyone from sponsors to sports stars, brands to broadcasters clambering over themselves to tap into the Brazilian buzz, what made you smile or share?

Andy McKenzie of digital sports content specialists LiveWire Sport picked out some memorable moments from the last month.

Pre-tournament

The weeks and months leading up to major events are always hugely important for brands to maximise their time with big names before disappearing behind FIFA’s commercial curtain.

Digital campaigns leading up to the World Cup Finals generally centred around gaining maximum exposure for high-end advertising campaigns featuring star players.

Adidas and Beats by Dre caught the eye, but Nike stole the pre-tournament show.

YouTube Preview Image

Nice storytelling, a hint of humour and Rooney’s dodgy Scouse accent helped earn their 64m YouTube views for The Last Game, without any of their stars presumably even having to appear in front of a green screen or step into a recording booth.

Good job they got in early as the only player in the campaign that made it as far as the semi-finals was David Luiz, who perhaps took Nike’s ‘Risk Everything’ message too seriously.

Hats off to the Daily Telegraph’s Project Babb for a brilliantly stitched together Roy Hodgson rap. Altogether now – “You’ve got to hold and give…”

YouTube Preview Image

And both the BBC and Guardian built some nice interactive tools for picking your best-ever World Cup side.

 

Kick-off

Time to unveil the shiny new technological toys.

The official FIFA.com site had a new live centre and a social hub that was packed full of detail and data, with sponsors like McDonald’s, Hyundai, Castrol and Budweiser handed some prime real estate, while Sony had a destination of their own at One Stadium Live.

Facebook created a World Cup hub to access content, while Twitter rolled out a number of innovations including hashflags, man-of-the-match voting (sponsored by Budweiser), score updates and dedicated match pages for each game.

ITV used Grabyo and partnered with Paddy Power and Twitter Amplify to maximise their live rights, while everyone enjoyed some friendly fun at the expense of Robbie Savage

Every detail of the tournament was analysed – even down to who won the World Cup of arm-folding (some welcome news for Tottenham fans).

 

Big moments

The rapid rise of real-time content continues.

Who can react quickest to those huge talking points, with brands all trying to create that ‘Oreo moment’.

Adidas set up a newsroom in Rio to react to events by creating content and it seems the #allin motto applies to the resources they put behind it.

There was the odd marketing own goal – like Delta’s giraffe gaffe and KLM’s Mexican mischief  – and a few weird ones – like Listerine’s #PowerToYourMouth.

Brazil’s monumental fall from grace was perfect Paddy Power territory

while PornHub gained an unexpected uplift in extra followers on the back of their tweet.

Brilliant Ads shared a quite brilliant take on the 2014 logo that got nearly 13k retweets

while @brazuca was silenced for one night.

The USA finally fell in love with soccer. Obama watched on Air Force One, Hulk Hogan and Will Ferrell pledged their allegiance to the beautiful game and then there was Tim Howard and THOSE saves.

Hats off to the Scottish FA for reacting to Germany’s crushing of Brazil with a timely and humorous post about their upcoming Euro 2016 qualifier (v Germany).

Scottish FA

The Final

Things turned out nice in the end for adidas in their battle with Nike as Messi and Muller, Argentina and Germany all manufactured their way to the final, seeing off the Nike-sponsored pair of Brazil and the Netherlands in the semi-finals.

Adidas had David Beckham on their YouTube show The Dugout, the official ball, the winners of the Golden Glove, the Golden Ball and the Golden Boot.

YouTube Preview Image

Nike still had the match-winning Mario Gotze

but maybe nobody reacted better than Lufthansa to Germany’s win.

As another major sporting event passes through our timelines, what has stood out for you? Did we miss any outstanding World Cup content? Is anyone out there really interested in animals predicting scores?

 

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Manchester United launch ‘Social Media Hub’

Manchester United launch ‘Social Media Hub’

Manchester United have been slowly expanding their efforts on social media over the past few years and have now expanded that with a new release that brings together all their channels into one place.

They first launched on Facebook back in 2010 just as social media was becoming popular within sport and clubs were jumping on board. But then the club sat back, just at a time when ‘noisy neighbours’ Manchester City were pushing the boundaries on a number of platforms.

Last year they (finally) launched on Twitter and have amassed over 2.7m fans on the platform, adding to their 50m+ Facebook fans and expanded their social media team with new experienced hires. They’ve also launched language specific accounts on Twitter and a Sina Weibo account to connect with fans in China. Plus they regularly update their Google+ (2.9m) and Instagram (1.1m) accounts with behind the scenes and match day content.

Now they have teamed up with Australian tech company Stackla to launch the Manchester United Social Media Hub. It allows fans to see all the content being produced by the club in one place across all their major accounts. Stackla have been providing their social media aggregation system to a number of campaigns across sports, fashion and much more over the past few years.

You can also see specific campaign content by clicking on the ‘New Kit’ and ‘Tour 2014′ tabs as the club promoted specific elements to boost revenue streams – new kit sales, tickets, etc.

Not everyone is a fan of these hubs but they do work especially around specific events in my opinion. With so many profiles scattered across the internet it can be hard to keep up with them all. This gives fans the opportunity to do just that and also follow the links to discover platforms the club is on that they didn’t know were there before.

What do you think?

Man Utd Social Hub

Man Utd Social Media Hub

 

 

 

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Inside Two Circles: Chatting Data & Sport with the BTSIA Agency of the Year 2014

Inside Two Circles: Chatting Data & Sport with the BTSIA Agency of the Year 2014

At our last Digital Sport London one of our guest speakers was Phil Stephan from Two Circles, who earlier this year were named winners of the coveted Agency of the Year title at the BT Sport Industry Awards in London.

They are a sports agency with a difference – they put data at the heart of their approach.

Phil managed to fit a lot of interesting information into his 10 minutes at the June event at The Bakery in Old Street. He caught imagination of many in the room and I for one was left wanting to find out more. So I caught up with Phil recently to do just that…

 

Dan: For the benefit of anyone who may not have heard of Two Circles, can you tell us briefly about the company and your role there?

Phil: Two Circles is a data-driven sports agency. We work with sports rights holders and their sponsors and help them become insight-led, customer-focused, profitable organisations. Whether they are hoping to sell more tickets, grow participation or increase sponsorship revenue, we help our clients use data to achieve their business objectives. We work with, to name a few, the England and Wales Cricket Board, Ascot Racecourse, Lord’s, the KIA Oval, Valencia CF, Fulham FC, Harlequin FC, Wasps and Youth Sport Trust.

We were recently named Agency of the Year at the 2014 BT Sport Industry Awards having been in existence for less than three years. As Head of Client Services, I’m responsible for making sure that we consistently deliver great work for all of our clients – whether that means ensuring that the right technology is in place, that strategy and campaign planning is sound, or that deliverables are produced to a high standard. Most importantly my job is to make sure that our work is always helping the client solve their problem!

 

Dan: There is more and more talk about data and how it should be used at the moment – in sport and in business more generally. How important is it for a sports organisation to get this right?

Phil: It’s absolutely fundamental. The biggest players in other industries have placed data at the heart of their business strategies and have embraced it as a new currency over the course of the past ten years or so. Tech giants like Google and Facebook are data businesses – they exist to collate and monetise user data, while supermarkets like Tesco and Sainsbury’s run their businesses on data – who is buying, what they’re buying, and where. Sport is behind the curve. (In fact, it’s ironic how little sport has done with data to drive commercial strategy, while simultaneously making such extensive use of it to drive improvements to on-field performance.)

This has to change – sport has no more divine right to anyone’s time than Facebook, music, retail or movies, so if it fails to realise the value of data while other industries continue to deliver increasingly personalised experiences, it simply will not be able to compete. Whether the objective is to launch a successful new product for your fans or grow participation within a certain demographic; to change a pricing structure or activate a sponsorship deal; to fill a new stadium or boost digital engagement, data should be informing and supporting business strategy across the board and sport is only just waking up to its potential.

 

two circles image

 

Dan: What are some of the common problems you see? How do you work to overcome them?

Phil: The problem we see again and again in this space is a lack of strategy. Often sporting organisations will make the decision to invest in data projects without first clearly defining their objectives for doing so and specifying how the project will then be utilised to deliver these objectives. Building a single customer view, developing a segmentation model, undertaking market research etc. are not ends in themselves and will not spontaneously deliver return on investment without strong strategic foundations being laid first.

Even projects with firm foundations can fail, however, if they are not delivered correctly. Too many times we see traditional consultancies or tech firms deliver systems/projects and then hand it over to their clients who lack the resources and/or strategies to get the most out of them. Two Circles exists to circumvent these issues – we have a blend of skills and experience to provide bespoke end-to-end solutions to solve our clients issues and realise their business opportunities. We work in partnership with our clients to ensure our work with them is successful. We won’t enter into a relationship if we don’t know that it will deliver ROI for the client.

 

Dan: So what steps can rights-holders take to start using the vast reams of data they hold to deliver on their commercial objectives?

Phil: The first step is to define what you want to achieve – do you want to grow attendances? Grow participation? Increase non-matchday revenue? The data, systems and approaches required to deliver each of these objectives are totally different and you can easily find yourself investing your time and resource in the wrong areas if you haven’t clearly defined what you are trying to achieve.

Unless you have the budget to hire developers, analysts, a customer marketing team and experienced professionals with experience in data strategy most organisations will need to outsource some or all of their data servicing requirements. The range of data sporting organisations have at their disposal is quite unique to this industry so finding a partner with sports industry experience is key to success. A good partner will help unlock the value of the data you have at your disposal. A bad partner will sell you a system you don’t need and can’t use to achieve your business objectives.

 

Dan: Social media has added even more data to the fold with sports typically having thousands, if not millions, of fans across multiple platforms. How can they tie this into their overall business and even start producing revenue from it?

Phil: Social media is an incredibly valuable customer touch-point for any sporting organisation – fans disclose data about themselves that can provide valuable insights that should be informing how you manage your relationship with them. The challenge with social data is gathering, structuring, analysing and acting on the right data in the right way.

Too many sporting organisations are focused on growth for its own sake. In isolation, the number of followers or likes that an organisation has doesn’t mean much and the insight you can extract from the platforms’ out-of-box analytics is limited – the key is to overlay social data with other data sources so you know who your followers are and how they behaving. Only with this deeper understanding can rights-holders derive maximum value from social media.

 

Two Circles Surrey CCC

 

Dan: You’ve obviously been doing a great job over these last 3 years. If you could pinpoint a couple of success stories you’ve worked on – who would they be and why?

Phil: We take great pride in our work with all of our clients – our 100% renewal rate is testament to that. I have to respect the commercial sensitivity of a lot of our ongoing work, but one example I can speak about is our Ashes Ballot and Membership campaign with Surrey County Cricket Club last year.

We’re particularly proud of this campaign not just for the strong financial results it delivered, but also because it won a Marketing Week Data Strategy Award earlier this year, in a category that included a number of major brands supported by global marketing agencies – the likes of easyJet, Financial Times and Proctor and Gamble. For a cricket club to emerge victorious in that context was some achievement and we’re very proud to have played a part in it. If you’d like to read a little more about it, click here: http://www.marketingweek.co.uk/events/email-marketing-b2c/4009241.article

 

Dan: Finally, with the amount of data sports businesses will be able to access only going to increase. What does the future hold for Two Circles and how do you see the sports industry evolving as the digital age evolves?

Phil: The rise of digital is making it easier and easier for organisations to manage the relationships they have with their customers. With access to granular, customer-level data from social channels, websites and other digital touch-points, sports organisations will have an increasingly full and detailed picture of what their customer base looks like, how they behave and how they feel. Digital also increases rights holders’ ability to communicate with their customers on a one-to-one level.

For us at Two Circles, and for the industry more broadly, the combination of these two changes is allowing us to deliver increasingly personal customer experiences, rather than the “one size fits none” approach that sport has been known to deliver in the past. It’s an exciting time to be working in sport – I think we are on the brink of a fundamental shift in the way the business of sport operates, driven by the discovery of the valuable tool it has at its fingertips: data.

 

Thanks to Phil for taking the time out to speak with me. If you’d like to find out more about Two Circles then you can do at their website, http://www.insidetwocircles.com

 

 

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Arsenal breaks 4m fans to become 3rd most followed sports team on Twitter

Arsenal breaks 4m fans to become 3rd most followed sports team on Twitter

Over the last 12 months Arsenal have seen a rise in follower numbers on Twitter launch from 2.2m to just over 4m.

This makes them the third most followed sports team in the world – and you’ve probably guessed who the top two are…. FC Barcelona (12m) and Real Madrid (11.7m).

Much of this growth has been down to varied content that keeps the fans both informed and entertained. They do the usual club news, team information on match days, competitions and behind-the-scenes peeks that we all love.

But they have also pushed the boat out with regular Q&A’s, infographics and “live-tweeting” a replay of the 1989 title decider against Liverpool at Anfield. Celebrating its 25th anniversary.

They also have dedicated Twitter accounts that cover North America, Indonesia, Vietnam and Japan. As well as having a Spanish language feed that covers several countries.

“We are proud to be the first Premier League team to reach four million Twitter followers. We are fortunate to enjoy fantastic support right around the world and social media has proven a brilliant way of engaging with our fans, wherever they are.

Last season we led successful Twitter campaigns around key events such as the signing of Mesut Ozil, the FA Cup final victory and the subsequent parade – where we tweeted video from the top of the bus. We even got Arsène Wenger to do a Twitter Takeover for the first time. With the new season fast approaching, we’ll be looking to introduce more innovations in the months to come.” – Richard Clarke, Managing Editor @ Arsenal Media Group

wenger twitter

 

 

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