Tag Archive | "Digital"

Top 5 Takeaways from Digital Sport Manchester

Matt Briggs from The Online Rule has kindly put together his takeaway thoughts from the recent (and first ever) #DSManchester event which took place last Thursday (17th) at TechHub.  A further write up with the presentation slides and a Storify of the day will also be up on the site in the next couple of days…

Manchester got a dose of Digital Sport last Thursday when UK Sports Network brought the event to the North West.

The line-up was one of the strongest yet, with delegates being treated to presentations and discussions involving the likes of BBC Sport, Manchester City, Everton, deltatre, Stream UK, Leeds Rugby and Manchester Metropolitan University.

As you might imagine four hours of digisport chat with such a diverse range of speakers threw up a lot of talking points, too many to be covered in one solitary blog post. Instead I’ve pulled together five of the key takeaways from the afternoon.


1. The power of stories

Agency or in house, it didn’t matter. Every presenter and panel member at #DSManchester, regardless of their background, talked passionately about the effectiveness of one thing – stories.

The most provocative and engaging content doesn’t just fall out of the heads of marketers and make its way onto our screens, it comes from those people who have tales to tell about the things that make sports fans tick. Our job is to facilitate the telling of these “stories from the stands”.

Nothing quite highlighted how accurate this assertion was like Capsool’s CityStories project, which allows dedicated Blues from across the globe to share their experiences with the club and other supporters. The result is a highly personal and evocative history of the club written by those who have lived it. Good sport is greater than a brand.

2. Don’t underestimate the importance of video

Yes, yes, you may be sick of hearing it, after all we have been reminded for years now, but video really is the king of content. As Matthew Quinn of Stream UK pointed out, pictures may paint a thousand words but according to Forrester Research one minute of video is worth 1.8 million!

That’s not all. A good video can increase the likelihood that your site will find itself on the first page of Google by 53 per cent as well as double the length of time users spend on your website. Have you got a product to sell? A video of it makes users 144 per cent more likely to add it to the cart.

It’s lucky for us that sport makes great video. How clubs go about leveraging that and distributing the content is another discussion entirely.

british cycling

3. Mobile first? No, mobile equal

“Mobile first” is one of those phrases that has been drilled into the skulls of anyone involved in digital over the past twelve months. It’s no surprise. The UK mobile market worth £1.03 billion and it’s estimated that mobile use will surpass that of desktop in 2014. Does all this really mean you should neglect the big screen experience at the expense of the smaller one? Mobile experts Scott McLeod, Mike Dunphy and Russell Stopford didn’t think so.

Mobile may be gaining are larger audience share but users are gradually shifting from desktop to mobile, not migrating all at once. Don’t damage the experience of one set of users by opting for mobile first. Instead aim for mobile equal. Ensure that the content, interaction and experience remains the same regardless of where or how they are visiting your site. Make your message consistent across all platforms.

4. Know your audience

British Cycling decided to set up their Go Sky Ride community because they knew their audience wasn’t just made up of hardcore cycling buffs, but casual riders too. This basic awareness of how diverse the cycling community in Britain is has since set the tone for the governing body’s relationship management.

British Cycling understood that information gathering exercise shouldn’t just stop at understanding the obvious differences between stakeholders. Knowing who and what their audience likes has allowed them to make educated decisions about who should front the next campaign and when it should be launched. As Susan Tranter said: “getting to know your audience is not a waste of time”.

Identifying how, why and when users consume content can’t guarantee success, but it can certainly give you a fighting chance.

5. Fighting the churn

Leeds Rhinos lose the most followers on Twitter on a match day. Conversely it’s also the time of week they gain the most followers.

Why the churn? Existing social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter simply aren’t designed to accommodate the sheer volume of posts that a match can bring. The result is a one size fits all approach, where clubs are using networks that aren’t built for in-depth commentary out of fear that if they don’t provide that service some fans will look elsewhere. Unfortunately it’s a tactic that also brings overexposure and turns off some supporters off.

There is no hard or fast way to end the high turnover of followers, but one way to combat it is to ensure that you’re creating stellar content elsewhere. According to Phil Daly the Rhinos use social media to give fans 360 degree access to the club: “where a security guard stops you on match day, we let you in”.

Be unique. Clubs can offer a huge amount of exclusive material to supporters. Even those that may not appreciate having their feeds full of blow by blow accounts of every single match they will appreciate that behind the scenes snap of the players celebrating a famous victory.

digital sport manchester

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3 (great) reasons to head to Digital Sport Manchester next week

Next week is a big week for us here at UK Sports Network. After heading up to Glasgow last month for our first ever event up there, we’re now going to be doing the same in Manchester.

“But why should I go” I hear you say. Well I believe there are 3 main reasons that you should head along, not even counting that we’re the only community that’s been set up solely for those who work within digital media for sports teams, federations, agencies and tech companies.

Reason 1

The line up of speakers I think is our best yet and we’re cramming a lot into half a day.  Not only do we have presentations from the likes of British Cycling, Manchester Metropolitan University, deltatre, Stream UK and Capsool but also panels made up of digital people from Leeds Rugby, BBC Sport, Everton FC, Man City FC and PERFORM.

We’ll be covering topics that are both general and specific, giving a fantastic look into what is both happening with within digital sport and what we is coming around the corner soon. There are talk titles such as; “Digital in Sport: Disrupting and levelling the playing field“, “Not just racing but riding: how British Cycling is building communities of real cycling fans, and real cyclists“, “The Digital Paralympics, from London to Sochi” and “CityStories: The Social History of Manchester City Football Club“.

Reason 2 (and 2 1/2)

We like to do things a little differently here than most events organisers (who wants to do the same thing all the time eh?). So instead of booking a sports venue or hotel, we’re going to be heading to TechHub Manchester. A shared working space and community for tech entrepreneurs and start-ups, something we see ourselves as being.

This type of venue provides for a more stimulating and relaxed atmosphere for the event. Being part of this vibrant community even for only half a day will hopefully help provide an environment that is both inspiring and fun to be part of.

Not only will you get all this when you come along but we’ve also been working on something to present ourselves. At the start of day I’ll be showcasing our new website, built with the great guys at Storystream who will also be in the crowd,  that will eventually take over from the current UK Sports Network site. It’s not only a new site but a new name and a new brand. Exciting times!

Reason 3

Another big reason people head to these events is to meet and chat with other people in the industry. So if this is your aim for heading along then you can expect to find people from;

  • IBM
  • Amaze
  • Kwangl
  • BR101 Sports
  • European Handball Federation
  • Manchester Futsal Club
  • Manchester United FC
  • Opta
  • Scarlets Rugby
  • 2ergo
  • Red Bull
  • Sky Sports
  • Prozone Sports
  • Two Circles
  • Intechnology Wifi
  • …. and many more

So if you’re interested in heading along there is still time to pick up a ticket. Prices are £50 + booking fee for standard tickets and £25 + booking fee for students.  You get yours now by heading to…


We look forward to seeing you there!




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Major League Baseball Hits A Home Run with Digital

Guest Post: Charlotte Males is the Founder of Sports Intern UK. She is a firm believer that Digital and Sport have a lot to learn from each other and is excited to see where this partnership can lead. A big fan of US sport, you can contact her at @charliemales.

With a brand new Major League Baseball season underway, comes brand new digital tech for baseball fans. Although traditionally the American pastime has been left behind when it comes to digital enhancements, the 2014 season has changed all that.

Team and league officials have been working hard all pre-season to implement plans to capitalise on all the new technologies coming in this season. The new improvements are set throughout the MLB and range from improving the fan experience at the ball park to potential changing the game forever.

Instant Replay

First up is the introduction of instant replay at the stadium. MLB is joining the like of Tennis, Cricket and Rugby by giving teams the right to challenge an umpire’s call they disagree with.  Like all new has already come with teething problems. But the technology used has undeniably changed the game forever.

All 30 teams in the MLB unanimously voted for the implementation of the instant-replay system and all 30 ballparks have used standardised technology. The MLB have ensured that the same 12 camera angels will be available for the replay officials.  All instant replied reviews will come from a command centre in New York, where there are 12 screens lining the back wall with live feeds from every MLB ballpark.


The most exciting addition to the 2014 Major League Baseball season is the implementation of Apple’s iBeacon technology. The iBeacon technology uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology to communicate with iPhones’ by expanding location services in iOS. Basically, it’s an extremely useful marketing tool that lets apps know when a fan has approached or leave the presence of an iBeacon.

The iBeacon is available on all iPhones’ with iOS 7 installed. In order to use this technology fans need to be using MLB.com’s At The Ballpark iOS app. The app already allows fans to access electronically, and with the use of iBeacon, ballpark goers will be able to receive directions to their phones about which gate to use and how to get to their seats. Although the app is available on both Android and iOS devices, only those will Apple devices will benefit from the bespoke iBeacon experience.

Through the use of iBeacon, the potential uses of the technology will be up to the MLB teams. However, one example of what fans can expect are being sent discounts on concession, sales and shopping items when you walk into the team shop.


Currently, the MLB league officials are directing clubs on where teams can implement the technology and what can and cannot be sent to fans. As for now, fans receive a welcome message when they check in (think of Foursquare), and maybe an offer to upgrade their seat or some discounts on concessions.  However, there is an expectation that the MLB will let team become more creative with the technology once the iBeacon has proved useful to fans.

For the San Francisco Giants, the technology is just another way to better engage with fans. “Mobile and digital experiences are paramount to our fan experience,” according to Chief Information Officer, Bill Schlough. The Giants have long been the most technologically progressive teams in baseball and even other sports clubs.

During the early 2000s, Giant’s fans first enjoyed in-stadium mobile phone coverage. And in 2004 the MLB club became the first in professional sports history to turn its stadium into a complete WiFi hotspot. Currently, there are 1,289 WiFi antennas covering the San Francisco Giants AT&T Park with connectivity that’s good enough to stream video to thousands of fans.


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New Digital Platform for the 2014 RBS 6 Nations

When the RBS 6 Nations kicks off for the start of the 2014 Championship this weekend, they will be doing so on a brand new digital platform. The new platform, available in English, French and Italian, includes dynamic web and mobile sites, a Virtual Press Office, Digital Media Guide and Judiciary Platform. RBS6Nations.com

Digital Sports Agency Sotic worked with the Six Nations Committee and its related stakeholders to design and build an innovative digital platform using the latest technology ensuring the ultimate user experience for those following the action.

When ‘Rugby’s Greatest Championship’ kicks off, the website will follow the on-field action with live match coverage of all the games, in-game statistics, live images and commentary in close partnership with the official statistic provider, Opta. The site offers a wealth of historical statistics from the competition, as well as embedded YouTube video highlights from present and past fixtures.

Complementing the website is the mobile friendly platform accessible from any smart phone or tablet. The content during matches focuses on the live action, defaulting the fans’ view to the match centre for instant updates on all the fixtures. Last year, over 51% of all site visits came from a mobile or tablet device.

The media have their own dedicated Virtual Press Office from where they can access the new Digital Media Guide. Dynamically updated after each g­­­­­ame, the guide displays content for journalists and broadcasters even when they are offline, unlike web pages.

“We are delighted with the new digital solution. We have an online presence that is as dynamic and expansive as the Championship itself and we hope that all fans enjoy the online experience we are delivering for them.” – Shane Whelan, Head of Digital @ Six Nations Committee

Alongside the main tournament are all the details for the Women’s Six Nations, Under-20 Six Nations, and the Under 18′s competition. Fixtures, results, squads, history and statistics are all available on the sites and within the Digital Media Guide.

The website boasts huge traffic numbers as was evident last year when the tournament was one of the world’s top ten trending sports sites during the 2013 Championship.

To catch the latest RBS 6 Nations news visit http://www.rbs6nations.com




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The Case for Networked Stadiums

Guest post: Stewart Mison is owner of Evolve Media Limited, a sports digital consultancy that has created a business solution for the development and management of a Connected Stadium to deliver a 360 degree commercial operation. They employ unique Matchday Software to engage with the fan base; to capture dynamic data which in turn feeds to a CRM programme and delivers an increase in matchday earnings. 


We live in the AGE OF NOW – Always On- Always Connected to our choice of smart media. In watching televised sport at home or in a café or bar we can choose second screen viewing information to enhance our enjoyment.  But nothing beats watching sport “live” in the Stadium, however most venues are not digitally enabled and as such it is nigh on impossible to make a phone call, send a text, use email, engage social media, let alone access data and stats on second screens.

Is this really important? The demands of the consumer (in this case the fan) have changed-they want more.  It is easy to identify how provision of these basics digital services can increase fan entertainment, build deeper engagement and enhance earning yield. However the business barrier is that the majority of stadiums were constructed before the advent of digital technology and the capital expenditure to equip a stadium for the 21st Century digital world is seen as prohibitive due to other business priorities, the structuring of Club financial business models and sometimes inelastic business models.

At this point in the debate, let’s set aside the cost issue and focus on what connected stadium can deliver.

  • A football stadium on matchday is a highly charged and emotional sales environment for Merchandise and Concessions. Imagine being able to put a sales message to each fan in a very personal way. Imagine capturing Business Intelligence on these fans and tailoring sales propositions accordingly. Imagine cross tabbing this with season ticket and corporate hospitality. Imagine the huge impact this would have on existing CRM services.
  • As much as increasing the yield from those attending at every home game, there is the wider argument that creating a better “Entertainment Environment” is going to become key in the future. Many in control of sports stadia did not grow up with smart digital technology. But the young fans (the Millennial X-Box generation) want and demand more. They want access to social media sites where they can engage with their mates Before, During and After the match. Failure to plan on servicing these demands is planning to fail in the digital space and risk alienation of the fan base. Once upon a time the fan voted with their feet; now they are vociferous in digital media.
  • We should also spare some thought for the commercial partners of sport. Most are sophisticated multi-national brands, supported by an array of digital marketing techniques that in an area where they are asked to invest millions of pounds, they are unable to create digital activation solutions. Let us not also forget that Betting Companies are partners of many Clubs and direct connectivity to their platforms to provide “In Game” betting opportunities is much in demand in the small handful of forward thinking Stadiums that are connected.
  • All of the above can easily be combined and delivered through a Matchday App which can either be a standalone solution or an SDK style plug in to a Club’s existing Apps. What it must do is take the fan on a journey on matchday – Before – During and After the game, engaging with them through entertainment opportunities and providing the commercial partners with digital activation and marketing platforms.

Addressing these solutions throws up many other questions, not least of which will be which digital service provider to use; wifi v DRS; the operational fit to existing IT infrastructure, human resource and the financial cost.

These are valid concerns and most can easily be answered in a flexible and simple way that in many cases does not require high up front CAPEX. The first step is to agree this is a business need and then commence the dialogue. Once dialogue starts the concerns become workable needs that in turn lead to profitable end solutions.  Of course the Elephant in the Room is how much does this cost?

Cost is subjective in two ways. Firstly it depends on the financial scale of the business looking to install a digital stadium and the second is the Return on Objectives (ROO) – does it do the job it is tasked to do? Likewise the actual CAPEX can take many shapes.  First off, can the savings a digital stadium achieves be used to offset the expenditure? Secondly, as above are the deliverables capable of producing the revenue returns to warrant funding. That said it is recognised that neither of these cover any initial capital outlay. There are a number of funding solutions that can stay off balance sheet (thus working with UEFA Financial Fair Play regulations) but provide full or partial cost cover in exchange for certain commercial rights.

Every digital stadium opportunity has its own set of business dynamics that if football clubs approach with an open mind and without unrealistic values or demands, will quickly deliver better and deeper entertainment and engagement for the fan, cost savings and new income streams.

We are nearly in the second half of the second decade of the 21st Century. Smart Media use is only going to increase as the Millennial Generation matures, younger fans come forward and the luddites are slowly out grown.


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Digital Sport Trends 2014

As is becoming traditional within the digital space, it’s time to look ahead to the next year.  Casting our eye forward to what the next 12 months will have in store for an industry that moves at 1000mph.

This year, instead of putting together a post or two with great insights from some of the brightest minds in the industry, we’ve gone one step further.  We’ve put together an ebook containing contributions from 19 digital sports industry insiders.

They cover the whole of the industry; from tech companies to agencies, from federations to teams.  Those involved include;

  • AELTC / Wimbledon
  • Queens Park Rangers
  • Opta
  • AS Roma
  • Seven League
  • London Wasps
  • Team GB
  • Arsenal
  • BT Sport
  • ….and many more

To get hold of your copy, all you have to do is click on the “Pay With A Tweet” button below and pay for your copy by tweeting out a message.  Simple. No money involved, just a bit of support for what we have put together.

We all hope you enjoy it.  Any feedback is always great, you can do that through the comments below or tweeting us at @UKSportsNetwork.


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Will England #Rise to win the Digital Ashes?

Guest Post: Aaron Jaffery (@aaronjaffery) is Managing Director of Digital Sport Consultancy NineteenEightyFour.

A growing public interest in English cricket has undoubtedly risen from the Ashes. The popularity of the sport has increased ever since Michael Vaughn led the side to victory over the seemingly-invincible Aussies back in the Summer Series of 2005, and this is reflected in the burgeoning presence of the English Cricket Board in digital and social media channels. This is not to say that the Australians have been left behind.

What was, in the Nineties, a foregone conclusion has once again become an intense and unpredictable rivalry; although this heightens the entertainment for the neutral spectator, Cricket Australia have had to ensure that their digital strategy keeps a fan-base that is used to victory, engaged in defeat.

Yet while both the English and Australian Cricket Boards have acknowledged the importance of digital engagement, perhaps they have not yet taken full advantage of the marketing opportunities available through social media during the Ashes Series itself.



The websites assigned to each Board is impressive in terms of digital performance. Both homepages display an attractive and easy-to-navigate user interface that provides direct access to the corresponding Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts of the ECB and Cricket Australia. Unsurprisingly, they offer access to news, photos and video highlights of the current Ashes Series, as well as archival footage and past statistics, and include squad lists, itineraries and broadcasting schedules for both TV and Radio coverage.

What is interesting, however, is that while the ECB focus on the reporting element of the Ashes – the latest news, stats and exclusive interviews, all instantly available through the Ashes Breakfast Email feature – Cricket Australia seem more concerned with the personal side of their national squad and its supporters. The “Meet the Australian Men’s Team” feature is particularly attractive to a cricketing newcomer by creating an individual profile for each player that appears alongside his live Twitter feed. Furthermore, the “Fan Face Off” section of the Cricket Australia website taps into the rivalry of the Ashes by measuring the digital presence of both national cricketing Boards.

This is achieved through a direct comparison of social media statistics, in a bid to increase fans’ online engagement with their national side. While the ECB’s website demonstrates a greater endeavour to improve the accessibility of the Ashes for what seems to be an established fan-base, Cricket Australia appear to be more aware of the need to expand their digital outreach to include the more inexperienced cricketing supporter.




So who is winning the battle of the fans in the social media sphere? Cricket Australia boasts an impressive 2,061,280 likes on Facebook; making the ECB’s 764,970 likes somewhat disappointing in comparison. However, the English fan-base on Facebook is largely divided between the ECB and Official England Cricket, which amasses a further 766,337 likes, making the total a more acceptable 1,531,307 with the two pages combined. Twitter is a closer affair, although the ECB still trails with 225,220 followers compared to Cricket Australia’s 262,105. Content is mostly similar, and so this close encounter can be considered a draw.

However, the popularity of individual players on Twitter seems more favourable for the English. Kevin Pietersen, the most-followed cricketer in either Ashes squad, is followed by 1,457,787 fans: more than double that of Aussie captain Michael Clarke, with only 616,201.On average, the English professional cricketer tweets more regularly than the Australian and, noticeably, with more personality. Clarke, Ryan Harris and James Faulkner limit their tweets to publicise infrequent news updates or advertisements; Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann and James Anderson offer personal anecdotes, amusing photos via Instagram, and inter-Tweet sarcasm, that is often directly associated with the Ashes and is appreciated by their online fans.

Somewhat astonishingly, many of the Australian squad do not even have Twitter accounts at all and those that do are outnumbered by the amount of parody accounts set up by fans. The absence of Brad Haddin, Shane Watson, Steven Smith, Chris Rodgers, George Bailey and Peter Siddle from the social media channel signals the vast potential for increased digital outreach that is still to be exploited by Cricket Australia.





Yet it is Twitter that seems to be the chief medium through which both cricketing Boards have chosen to focus their digital campaigns. Both teams have a trending phrase – ECB continue with #RISE from the Summer Series, #uniteaus is selected for Cricket Australia – that successfully unifies the digital cricketing fan community and that is subsumed by the internationally-trending #Ashes. What is more, Twitter seems to be the first choice for developing fan engagement with the two Boards. ECB have allied themselves with Twelfth Man, the official fan community of English cricket, and have launched the competition Twelfie Selfie.

This encourages fans to upload a photo of themselves supporting the English cricket team during the Winter Ashes using the Hashtag #TwelfieSelfie to either Twitter or Instagram, where the winner will entertain Mathew Hoggard in their own home to watch the second Ashes Test on the 6th December. Australia’s corresponding campaign is in commercial partnership with KFC, who have altered the colours of their logo design to green and gold because, because “England’s colours are red and white”.

They promote an online quiz of quick-fire questions, where one wrong answer leads to disqualification, but success could lead to the major prize of $5000. However, while this is included within the renowned KFC #bucketheads trend on Twitter, the specific hashtag for the competition, #KFCgreenandgold, tends to get lost amid the online support for the NFL’s Green Bay Packers who also lay claim to the hashtag #greenandgold.

The ECB’s engagement strategy seems to be have the potential for greater success. Because it mainly uses Twitter the campaign is better advertised and accessible than its Australian counterpart, which is primarily accessed through the Cricket Australia website. Moreover, there is nothing to limit the participants in Twelfie Selfie competition: anyone can upload a photo. Cricket Australia’s KFC quiz, on the other hand, is reliant on a certain degree of cricketing knowledge and thus excludes newly-recruited fans.




The most important consideration with regards to fan engagement during the Ashes, however, is undoubtedly how to provide digital coverage of the Series: particularly for those fans on the other side of the world to where the matches take place. In this Winter Series that is the English, and the ECB have striven to report the events of each Test in greater detail than previous years. Not only is the whole Series televised live on Sky Sports 2, but, in response to the station’s highest ever outreach to listening audiences, Radio 5 Live now provide around-the-clock coverage of the Ashes.

Sky Sports have also launched the Ashes Event Centre PC and iPad app, alongside the ECB Cricket app for both iPhone and Android, and the ECB website provides access to a number of RSS feeds as well as their own Audioboo channel for further audio coverage. In many ways, the time difference has actually enhanced the ECB’s strategy for an increased digital presence, as it means that fans are reliant upon social media and mobile applications for a regular engagement with the Ashes when live television coverage becomes inconvenient.

Because we’re based in the UK its difficult to a certain the true extent of Australian coverage. So, with England building an unassailable lead with a diverse range of tools, bad light stops play and the test is declared a draw.



What is apparent from looking at the digital strategies of both the ECB and Cricket Australia is that they are largely comparable. In terms of statistics, there is not a lot that separates them in the popularity of their social media channels, and the user-interface of both websites are similar in their navigational simplicity and attractive display. Yet on the occasion where their campaigns can be distinguished from one another, it is always down to one Board conveying a greater sense of personality than the other.

This explains why the English players boast far more Twitter followers then their Australian rivals and, similarly, why the Cricket Australia website demonstrates a greater sense of accessibility to the inexperienced cricket fan than that of the ECB. It is primarily this sense of digital personality that can be further developed by each cricketing Board in the design of their online channels to capitalise their turnover during future series of the Ashes.


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Sports Data for Social Marketing and Fan Engagement

Last week was Social Media Week in London (if you hadn’t noticed through the deluge of event tweets) and as always it was a useful period in which to get to hear from some industry leaders and meet some new people.

The events I got to were: IBM “Game, Set and Tweet”, Richard Ayers and his panel’s look at ROI and the end of the “Sports Data for Social Marketing” at Bloomberg Sport.  The final one was probably the one with the most interest and there were plenty of questions from the audience to a very knowledgeable panel.

The stage was taken by the likes of Richard Ayers (CEO, Seven League), David Gibbs (Director, Sky Sports Digital Media), Simon Banoub (Marketing Director, Opta Sports) and David Orman (VP, Kwamecorp Ventures).  The panel was led by the President of Bloomberg Sports, Bill Squadron, whose calming tone and bags of experience made an insightful event.

You can catch what was said in the videos below as they discussed how brands leverage the use of sports data as a vehicle for fan engagement.

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Liverpool outline their global digital expansion plans

In a time where the digital landscape is changing on an almost daily basis, it’s interesting to hear more details on the plans of one of the ‘big’ clubs.  But it’s not just Liverpool who have been busy this summer.  Manchester United have really kicked on and Manchester City aren’t far behind.

The push by all these clubs highlights the importance of becoming an international ‘brand’ and commercialising these opportunities.  Yesterday Ian Eyre, Liverpool’s Managing Director, outlined the clubs long-term strategic plan to grow it’s digital platforms.  They want to do this by offering global fans more interactive and intuitive ways to engage with the club.

At The Nolan Partners Sport Industry Breakfast Club, Ayre said:

“Liverpool FC is a Premier League pioneer for innovation, brand development and international fan engagement.  Central to our international brand strategy is the club’s revolutionised digital output, which is interactive, inclusive and localised to individual territories – delivering content which is tailored to specific markets and accessible in local languages.”

Manchester City earlier this summer made the announcement that they were expanding their global online presence through the launch of 10 new international websites.  They already had the English, Arabic and Chinese Mandarin, so this new initiative opened the club up to fans speaking Traditional Chinese, French, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Thai.  Now they have gone one step further by launched 10 new Twitter accounts in the same languages as the earlier website additions.

Diego Gigliani, Manchester City director of marketing, media and fan development, said:

“Twitter has played an integral part in the club’s online growth in recent years, providing the club and its players with a unique channel through which to interact with fans in creative and innovative ways. We will continue to explore the wealth of opportunities that social networks like Twitter offer.”

Manchester United, who already have a significant web presence across the world, have been concentrating on their new love affair with social media.  Until earlier this year the only touch points that the club had on social networks were with Facebook and their club’s official press account on Twitter.  Since then they have launched a main club account on Twitter, which has already passed 1m followers in less than 3 months, as well as accounts on Instagram, Google Plus, Sine Weibo and Renren.

Earlier this week the club announced that their international Twitter presence was expanding.  Following the leads of the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Liverpool and others by taking their message out with language specific accounts.  The clubs official statement announced that;

The club can now connect with 63 million more fans in Asia thanks to pages in Indonesian(@ManUtd_ID) and Malay (@ManUtd_ MY), as well as over 54 million fans across the Spanish-speaking world via a Spanish page (@ManUtd_ES).

So back to Liverpool.

They have always prided themselves on being internationally followed and loved, and for leading the way in which Premier League clubs should be going about it.  Language specific accounts are nothing new to them and at the start of 2013 long time Head of Content Paul Rogers took on the role of Head of International Digital Development.  Highlighted how seriously they are taking this expansion.

As of August 2013, Liverpool had more followers on social platforms in China than from any other country.  This was then boosted by the news that they launched an official Weixin (WeChat) account on the first day of this new season.  This service provides fans with a mix of audio messages in English and Chinese from players including captain Steven Gerrard.

The club now have 34 official social media accounts (that’s a lot of community management!), including 17 international Twitter profiles – 12 of which are language specific and 5 of which are country specific.  Not to mention their presence on Russian site VK.com and five international Facebook pages.

“We are one of the best known football clubs globally and it is a great source of pride that our fans come from all areas of the world. Liverpool FC wants to show its commitment to bringing the club closer to our fans, whatever age they are, wherever they may live.  They are the foundation of Liverpool FC and we need to engage with them by embracing new technology and creating appealing and exciting digital content.

Extending the Liverpool FC brand beyond borders and connecting with our 200 million global fans also makes good commercial sense for the club and will help us achieve a competitive advantage on and off the field.  We can create added value for our corporate partners and maximise the international commercial opportunities that benefit everyone at the club, including the players, coaching staff and the global community of fans across the world.”

This is a massive investment by the club as they carry on their belief that engaging with fans on a global level is the best way to increase brand awareness and deliver commercial deals in those areas.  Most of the other ‘big’ clubs around the world are waking up to it and we can this by the sheer number of new sponsorship deals Manchester United have signed this year alone.  With the expansion on social platforms into these areas, deals like that will only increase in both regularity and size.


Official LFC local language Twitter accounts

@ThaiLFC: Thailand
: Indonesia
@MalaysiaLFC: Malaysia
: France
: Arabic
: Spain
: Turkey
: Bangladesh
@LFCKorea: Korea
@LFCBrasil: Portuguese
@GreeceLFC: Greece
@LFCNorwegian: Norway

Official LFC international Twitter accounts

@LFC India: India
@LFCANZ: Australia and New Zealand
@PakistanLFC: Pakistan
@SouthAfricaLFC: South Africa
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Posted in Digital, Football, Social Media, SportComments (0)

Cool Job: Head of Digital at Synergy Sponsorship

This could be the ideal way to start your week if you are looking to move on or take that big step up in your career.  Synergy are a top sponsorship agency and part of the bigger Engine Group who recently hired former London 2012 Head of New Media Alex Balfour as it’s first ever Chief Digital Officer.

Synergy are looking for an exceptional individual to head up the Digital division and play a key role in the next stage of their national and international growth.

They are looking for someone with outstanding digital expertise, strong commercial acumen and an entrepreneurial mindset. You will be passionate about delivering innovative digital strategies and activations across sports and entertainment sponsorships.  Disciplined and results-orientated, with ambition and drive to create ground-breaking work and motivated by working in a dynamic and fast-paced agency environment.

To apply for this position, please send a copy of your CV to iwanttowork@synergy-sponsorship.comconfirming the position you’re applying for and where you saw the job advertised.

Good luck and have a great week!



Posted in Digital, JobsComments (0)

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