Tag Archive | "digital football"

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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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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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.

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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…”

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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.

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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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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


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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Record breaking fixtures release day for the Football League on digital


Last month saw one of the most anticipated days in the football league calendar take place, the release of the 2014/15 season fixtures.

The Sky Bet Championship, Sky bet League 1 and 2 fixtures were revealed at 9am across all club websites on Wednesday 18th June. The clamor to get this information first led to nearly 2.5m page views in 24 hours!

A whole series of stats saw a record breaking day for the Football League on digital. The league and its technology partners, Sapient Nitro, Perform Group, Scribble Live and Akamai worked closely together to ensure fans got all the news and info they would need across multiple devices and in time. This led to some interesting stats;

  • 1,002,228 unique visitors across club sites and football-league.com
  • This was a 30% increase on the 736,993 on the same day in 2013
  • Total page views were up 75% to 2,411,426
  • Fans spent on average 2 minutes on their mobile, compared with 30 seconds last year
  • Nearly 674k views on mobile, an increase of 135%

So what led to these dramatic increases? We caught up quickly with the Football League’s Digital Director Russell Scott to find out more. One of main questions was how they managed to increase time fans spent on mobile so dramatically. It turns out there were two key changes that have taken place during the last year;

1. Content, and loads of it. The volume of content produced by clubs over the last 12 months has more than doubled, quite simply twice as much for fans to look at. More importantly the clubs use of content schedules and live blogging have enabled them to produce more engaging content that entertains fans and keeps them coming back for more.

2. We recently launched a new mobile site for all clubs. A simple responsive site that focuses on surfacing a large amount of short-form scrollable shareable content. The change is having a significant impact on user behavior, frequency of visit is growing steadily and user numbers are climbing significantly (YoY growth of around 40% last month). Clearly this again underpinned by the great content clubs are publishing. Of particular note are the clubs who schedule in early morning news every day, fans quickly learn that visiting the club site before 8 in the morning is a rewarding experience and we see overall mobile audience grow.

 

Fixture release day is the biggest day for football; club websites, with transfer deadline days being the only other dates that generate a similar amount of traffic. Thus it’s key to getting it right and all the partners have a role to play in it.

Sapient Nitro planned a key role in ensuring that all the fixtures were released at exactly 9am across all 90 club sites in one go with no delay, as well as planning to manage a high capacity audience (peaked at over 60k concurrent users just after 9am).

Scribble Live was used to power the club wall page or a dedicated fixture release live blog embedded in an article on each club site. Enabling clubs to publish immediate reaction to the fixtures and then follow that with views from others in the club, fans and pull content from social media.

Meanwhile, Perform published the fixtures across football-league.com and ensured all references in the Player product were updated. And the Akamai platform was used to manage content delivery and ensure site speed was high even under the high variable number of users. A true team effort!

“The day of the fixtures release is always the biggest day of the year for club websites so we’re delighted to breaks records once again. The Football League interactive network of 90 clubs across the Premier League, Football League and Football Conference has once again demonstrated the great strength of all these clubs working together.”

It sounds like there are more plans afoot for the new season, which I hope to catch up with Russell and speak to him about for the site in the next few weeks.

 

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Is Sponsorship being devalued by Social Media?


Guest Post: Tom Kelk is a tech/sport blogger and Senior Social Exec at communications agency, Pitch. You can find him on Twitter (@TomKelk)

This is the first World Cup where brands have heavily activated around the tournament through digital channels – when they have no sponsored right to do so. Since South Africa 2010, Facebook has more than doubled its monthly active users, Twitter users now send more than 10x as many tweets per day and now Instagram exists!

The social media landscape has been transformed in four years, and gives an indication to why brands are putting the effort into activating around Brazil 2014. Surely all this chatter around an event is a dream come true for the official sponsors? It’s not quite that simple.

In a recent study by Unruly Media, only four of the top 11 most viewed brand ads about the World Cup were from sponsors. Less than half. Continental Tyres – one of the leading official sponsors, didn’t feature at all. Sony – an official partner, are nowhere to be seen.

Unruly Media Braziliant Brand Tracker

Unsurprisingly, Nike use their assets and force the relation in the minds of consumers. All the Nike-sponsored teams and players were involved in their heavy-cost ad that implies they are official sponsors – but they’re not.  If you did a poll, how many would say Nike were a main World Cup sponsor?

Beats have come out trumps from this World Cup through an impressive ad utilising their playing assets. Again, no ‘right’ to have a World Cup conversation but used World Cup players to enable the link with the consumer.

Obviously the study isn’t flawless, but it does continue to highlight an interesting question. In the digital age, is there still the same value in being an official sponsor?

To answer the question, it’s worth dissecting a sponsorship package to understand where the value still lies, and where better to look, than FIFA.

FIFA state that a sponsor benefits from: “Wide product category exclusivity which is afforded to all Commercial Affiliates, allowing each brand to distinguish themselves from competing brands in their product category.” Now, whilst this has been aggressively reinforced in and around the stadiums, this is far from true in a digital space. To start with, look at the table above. Nike above adidas, Samsung above Sony and Nissan above Hyundai. Not looking that distinguished from competitors there… What about beer brands? Budweiser, official sponsor, have activated heavily around the World Cup:

But has that stopped Newcastle Brown Ale benefitting from the platform? Not one bit.

Another key benefit outlined by FIFA, is “offering a unique platform vis-à-vis their competitors.” This point is the crux of the debate. I would argue that this platform has disintegrated in recent years. Social media has enabled brands without the official connection to ambush these ‘unique platforms’.You only have to consider the Suarez incident.

There was a clamour for attention from brands off the back of the biting incident, but how many were official? The only one that springs to mind, was the Uruguayan Mcdonald’s Twitter account, which was more than likely not signed off in the higher echelons of Mcdonald’s as FIFA would absolutely frown upon sponsors discussing the incident!

Aside from the conversation, what else do FIFA sponsors have the ‘right’ to use? They can use official tournament title and logos – but is it beneficial, or is that in fact a hindrance? When using social media, audiences have developed an eye for official titling, and have almost developed an instinctive filter to those posts. Besides, as seen with the Snickers tweet above, who needs to reference the World Cup when over 5,000 tweets per second are being sent? Everyone knows what you’re talking about. In fact, could we go further and ask whether it could be better to work unofficially?

So, taking all this into account, does the traditional sponsorship model need altering to include further digital rights and should sponsors be negotiating harder to get this cover? Surely when their competitors begin to be more prominent in discussions over the World Cup, for example, surely they have a right to question costs?

Perhaps the new ideal ‘bigger brand’ model will follow the likes of Nike and Beats who find themselves less restricted by buying direct player assets and activate on an unofficial basis.Bigger brands will increasingly explore these opportunities in a creative capacity to give them the right to participate more heavily in these conversations. As for the smaller brands, they’ll continue to jump in and out when there’s a product link, and get small wins when they can.

There’s obviously still value in sponsorship. Access to assets like players and visible advertising rights are ultimately beneficial. However, social media allows a conversation to be had by brands when they couldn’t do so before without treading on toes and this is where sponsors need to be tougher on their sponsorships to maximise the value they receive on a digital platform, as well as a physical.

This is a topic that a dissertation could focus upon, and I’ve just brushed the surface here, but what do you think? Is the value of a sponsorship still the same and how has it been affected by the rise of social media? What should brands do to fight competitors on both platforms?

 

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ITV to share near-live video highlights of the World Cup


ITV will be sharing near-live highlights of the FIFA World Cup to ITV.com and social platforms following a deal with Grabyo, the real-time video company. ITV will be using the Grabyo platform to share match highlights and post-match commentary clips from its live TV coverage across ITV.com, Facebook and Twitter within seconds.

There has been a rapid acceleration of social media usage as well as mainstream adoption of smartphones and tablets since the last FIFA World Cup. There are now 30 million mobile social media users in the UK[1] while smartphone penetration is expected to reach 75 per cent of the UK population this year[2].  Furthermore, UK consumers now spend an average of 96 minutes a day on social media.[3]

ITV recently launched its new mobile first web experience, ITV.com. The site adopts a clean and simple design offering users a rolling timeline of news around its portfolio of programmes, allowing for content to be shared seamlessly on social media platforms.

Using this new design and working with Grabyo, the broadcaster aims to deliver an exceptional multiscreen World Cup experience to viewers this summer. Live coverage will be complemented with real-time video highlights, which can be discovered on Twitter and Facebook and viewed immediately in a real-time video gallery on ITV.com. The video highlights will cover key moments from 34 matches as well as post-match commentary, culminating with the World Cup final. Brands will have the opportunity to sponsor the clips and extend distribution through promotional and campaign tools.

Ollie Irish, Executive Producer for ITV Sport, said:

“We are very excited to be working with Grabyo to deliver real-time video highlights of ITV games across social media channels and itv.com. The partnership will allow us to enhance the viewer experience and drive conversation around this major TV event as well as offer compelling opportunities for our clients to connect with consumers as all the action unfolds.”

“We’ve been working with sports formats for the last six months but we always knew that the World Cup would be the ultimate real-time format,” comments Grabyo CEO Gareth Capon. “As a real-time, bite-size format that is optimised for viewing on mobile devices, short-form live video is highly appealing to social media users. We see huge and immediate spikes in traffic as premium sports content is shared on social media – and not just the obvious clips such as goals but from all kinds of irreverent clips too. We’re expecting World Cup clips to drive very significant organic reach on their own but it will be fascinating to see how this is extended using promotional tools such as Twitter Amplify.”

Grabyo recently revealed that 72% of its video traffic is mobile, illustrating how effective real-time social video is at reaching mobile social media users, and its platform regularly scales to hundreds of thousands of users within seconds as clips are shared.

 

[2] IAB - http://www.iabuk.net/blog/2014-the-end-of-the-beginning

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World Cup Fans Seeing Double, with Multi-Screening on the Rise in 2014


New research from Google reveals the extent to which football fans have changed in the past four years. The UK’s World Cup 2010 spectator was not mobile-savvy, with just 20% of searches for the game, players and teams taking place on a mobile device. Search query volume dipped during and peaked at the end of games as fans focused on the big screen. By contrast, the newly released Google report 2014 World Cup: What a Difference 4 Years Makes predicts that today’s football fans will engage with more than one screen during World Cup 2014 matches.

For example it was found that during the recent Bayern Munich vs. Real Madrid 2014 UEFA Champions League semi-final, 53% of UK searches took place on a mobile device, with the cumulative volume of mobile searches far surpassing those during the 2010 World cup final match.

  • Mobile Fans: UK fans are over two-and-a-half times more likely to search on mobile during major live football events than other devices compared to four years ago
  • Most Searched: There have been more global searches for the World Cup between 2010 – 2014 than for the Olympics, Tour de France and Superbowl combined
  • Most Watched: 64.7m hours of football-related YouTube footage watched globally in the past month

The research also finds that football is by far the most watched sport on YouTube globally this year, with 64.7m hours of related footage watched last month alone. Worldwide Google search data shows there was more interest in the World Cup than the Olympics, the Superbowl and the Tour de France combined, even with the latter two taking place annually.

“We now know that digital interaction occurs in tandem with a football match, giving advertisers the opportunity to react and offer content to fans in real-time. Marketers need to take this second-screen opportunity seriously. With recent research finding that 25% of UK men admit to shedding a tear during a football match, engaging with these passionate fans in the heat of the moment can be incredibly valuable for brands.” - Jordan Rost, Insights Marketing Manager at Google

Screen Shot 2014-06-06 at 16.22.51

Savvy advertisers are already creating great content for fans to consume before, during and after matches. Google’s analysis of the top five most watched football ads on YouTube in the UK shows that the content was all created by big brands as they all aim to engage with the extremely passionate fans that can be found on the video platform. Interestingly enough, only one of the videos is from an official sponsor of the football tournament:

1 Nike Football Nike Football: Winner Stays. ft. Ronaldo, Neymar Jr., Rooney, Ibrahimović, Iniesta & more
2 barclaysfootballtv Thank You #YouAreFootball
3 UKCapitalOne Capital One – Grounds for Improvement. The Credit Card that Supports the Supporters [VIDEO 2]
4 adidas Football Introducing the Battle Pack — adidas Football
5 Google UK Google+ & Manchester United – The Front row Story

 

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FIFA Digital at the 2014 FIFA #WorldCup Brazil


It’s now less than a week until the 2014 World Cup starts in Brazil, as long as the stadiums are ready of course. The excitement you can feel has been building with the pre-WC friendly matches well underway and Panini stickers being swapped at a furious rate.

Last week I took a look at what a few of the brands had been doing in the build up to the world’s second biggest tournament (only the Olympics outdoes it in terms of audience). So this time I’m going to look at what FIFA itself has been doing when it comes to digital.

The primary destinations for fans will be FIFA.com, m.fifa.com (the newly revamped app which has encountered some issues), Facebook and Twitter. No big surprises with the social channels chosen, so no place for the likes of Google+, YouTube or WhatsApp at the moment – concentrating on doing a few well is always better than doing too much just for the sake of it.

The video content is being housed on FIFA.com as they look to keep their quality content on an area they have most control and also links to their sponsors and other digital platforms. This is also true with the Live Blog from Brazil, with a key element being the embedding of tweets and Facebook posts from fans, stakeholders, media and key influencers. Live blogging is something we’ve seen grow massively with the European Tour, Man City, Premier League and many others taking advantage of it.

The big new activation for FIFA is ‘Global Stadium’, a concept we covered here only a few days ago when it was launched.  Their aim is to unite fans from around the world and capture the excitement and spirit of the World Cup. Fans can #JoinIn and are able to;

  • Follow the match through the Live Blog and stats
  • See social posts from players, coaches and celebrities and interact with their own friend’s posts
  • Discuss the game as it happens with a worldwide audience
  • Get involved in a variety of exclusive activities such as winning the actual kick-off ball from that game and voting for their Man of the Match

On Facebook and Twitter they have stated that their core content aims fall under 5 sub-headings; Football, Fans, Facilitation, Fun and FIFA. In simple terms, covering everything on the pitch; engaging fans in fun, interactive contests and asking them to share THEIR content; showcasing some of FIFA’s core programmes and initiatives; and facilitating the journey of fans and media, by providing regular, up-to-date, relevant information.

Facebook

FIFA’s first Facebook page was launched in June 2013 to coincide with the FIFA Confederations Cup. Twelve pages are now live, with the FIFA World Cup page now having over 19 million fans worldwide. The content is image driven. Photos, videos, trivia questions, exclusive interviews, fan promotions in the FIFA online store, news on the launch of ticket sales phases, and the promotion of fun fan games, such as
the Online Panini album aim to provide a variety of content.

FIFA’s extensive archive also enables us to take a look back at the stars of the past. Working together with FIFA’s Partners, they are also able to tell the story of unique opportunities provided at every FIFA competition, for example, through the FIFA Youth Programme, for children to get a birds-eye view, by being a player escort or being part of the ball crew.

In April 2014, eight out of the ten fastest-growing sports pages on Facebook belonged to FIFA, and at the beginning of May 2014, FIFA merged its two World Cup Facebook pages – one historic; one focused on Brazil 2014, to create one central World Cup hub.

Twitter

FIFA’s presence on Twitter went live in mid-2010. There are accounts for FIFA (@fifacom) and @FIFAWorldCup in six languages, for the FIFA President and the FIFA Secretary General, as well as accounts for the FIFA Media Department (@FIFAMedia) and women’s football (@FIFAWWC).

The platform provides a personal and direct communication channel with fans, media, stakeholders and key influencers. Hashtags are used for FIFA’s tournaments to create discussion topics, regular interactive daily polls/Q&As are posted
to ask fans for their views on the ‘key topics of the day’ and wherever possible, breaking news is posted to ensure FIFA’s authentic message is relayed in real-time.

Overall, there are more than seven million followers across FIFA’s accounts. The platform was used for the official man of the match vote during FIFA Confederations Cup 2013 and will once again be utilised for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™, in an innovative activation together with Anheuser-Busch & Twitter. Fans will also be able to cast their Man of the Match vote on Twitter, across FIFA’s six @fifacom and six
@fifaworldcup language accounts, while votes will also be counted from FIFA.com too.

Hashtags

FIFA Digital will be using the following hashtags in six languages: #WorldCup, #Joinin, #GlobalStadium while each match will have its own hashtag too.

Monitoring

In order to measure effectiveness and better tailor content to our fans, FIFA utilises a variety of reporting/monitoring tools for real-time analytics. We will also be working together with social media platforms to provide key data, both as part of our daily content, but also to Media through the daily news briefings at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. FIFA Digital will also produce a series of Infographics at key stages of the competition, to provide key digital highlights.

 

 

 

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