Newcastle Falcons target Fan Engagement with new Mobile app

At the start of the December, Newcastle Falcons, the North East’s only professional rugby club, teamed up with local tech company Spontly to produce a new interactive experience for fans of the club.

What they have looked to create is a Newcastle Falcons’ mobile App that enables fans to take photos and post commentary during a match which will be instantly available online.

The app is available for both iOS and Android devices and allows fans within the Falcons’ Kingston Park stadium, elsewhere across the region and beyond to share every moment of top-flight rugby in the North.

Duncan Edward, commercial director at Newcastle Falcons said:

“The club has seen a big increase in fan engagement since we fully embraced social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, and since the recent launch of our new website. For us the Newcastle Falcons App is the next phase of that strategy to engage with fans through the use of new technology.”

“We’re very excited to be amongst the first businesses to produce our own mobile app using the Spontly product. The technology available through Spontly allows us to interact directly with our fans and opens up many new and exciting ideas to help us provide fans with a top class match day experience. The App also has extra benefits for a wide range of off-field events held at Kingston Park and this is something we look forward to exploring further.”

It launched in time for the first game of the month against Harlequins.  With the help of some promotion by the club, they achieved some encouraging results;

  • 1000 app downloads
  • 250+ posts to Facebook and Twitter during the match
  • Increased website traffic
  • Data collected from every user

Jim Mann, CEO at Spontly, reported on the first weekend of its use by saying:

“The initial uptake and usage from the Falcons fans has been amazing – way beyond what we had anticipated. The usual 90:10 rule of content creators to content consumers holds in terms of posting but we have seen far more people active in other ways, checking in to events and following each other. We are very excited about the rapid uptake and looking forward to seeing how the network grows”

When I asked Jim about an issue that we have discussing in more frequency at events and on Twitter recently is stadium connectivity.  So how does an app that is aimed at those within the stadium mainly handle this?

It’s obviously a question that they have been looking to answer as well.  According to Jim they use compression techniques and an outbox function that stores and then sends the posts in the background as and when there is a connection.  So even in short periods of time when this is available they will be sent from the outbox.  Thus relying more on 3G than any wifi connections.

The ultimate aim for them has been to design a seamless user experience, very important when looking to draw users in on a regular basis.  So even though there may not be a connection, the app still works the same.  The end of those annoying error messages hopefully.

The Newcastle Falcons App is available free of charge from the iTunes and Google App stores.

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