Tag Archives: England

RFU launches the IBM TryTracker

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) and IBM today announced a new five year agreement. As Official Analytics Partner for the RFU, IBM will implement a leading analytics solution to provide fans with real-time insights into the game, including information about individual performance by players – the IBM TryTracker.

To cap a busy week of launches and prep for the opening game of the 6 Nations, they have launched a great new feature for rugby fans.  In a first for the sport, IBM’s Predictive Analytics software will analyse historic and current rugby data provided by Opta to provide valuable in-game stats. It gives viewers access to insights that will heighten their understanding of what to watch for in each game and explains what needs to be done to increase the likelihood of a team win against specific opponents.

The IBM TryTracker includes the ‘Keys to the Game’, which predict three crucial areas of performance specific to each team ahead of match day. If a side hits their target in these aspects of their game they will significantly increase their chances of victory. The data collected and provided by Opta for all England internationals is analysed by IBM, before being hosted on RFU.com. The design, development and integration of IBM’s feeds was carried out by RFU.com‘s digital partner Aqueduct (www.aqueduct.co.uk).

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English intensity vs Scottish spirit

The Keys to the Game for England’s first match of the RBS 6 Nations show that in the face of a mean Scottish defence, it’s all about line breaks and possession for Stuart Lancaster’s side. Win more than 14 turnovers and break through the Scottish defence more than five times and England will be laying important foundations for a home win

England keys:

  • Win more than 14 turnovers
  • Make more than 5 linebreaks
  • Achieve a successful goal kick percentage of more than 74%

Scotland’s best chance of leaving Twickenham with a rare win comes from playing a tight, accurate and disciplined game. The TryTracker analysis has identified that if Scotland can be successful in 95% of their tackles and win more than 85% of their own lineout ball they will significantly increase their chances of victory.

Scotland keys:

  • Achieve a tackle success rate greater than 95%
  • Win more than 85% of own lineouts thrown
  • Have more than 6 attempts at goal


Momentum and more

In addition, the platform will feature a new way to represent ‘Momentum’, which identifies key moments, decisions and turning points based on every facet of the game and then depicts the flow of the match, visually.

IBM TryTracker

Photo: IBM TryTracker

TryTracker also determines the match’s ‘Key Influencers’ by analysing every action of every player to reveal which three players are having the biggest positive impact on their team’s overall performance. Results are based on position specific historical data, and will benchmark players against the average performance of their teammates.

The momentum and player influence views are available once the match starts along with live text commentary and vital stats for each team. Before the game users can check out what the keys to the match will be and look at both teams’ lineups.

IBM TryTracker

Photo: IBM TryTracker

IBM and the RFU

As well as providing the analytics for IBM TryTracker, the agreement also includes the implementation of a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) transformational plan for the RFU. Using IBM Analytics will allow the RFU to better understand information on rugby fans, their needs and preferences, to enable the organisation to communicate with supporters and participants in a more personalised way.

Sophie Goldschmidt, Chief Commercial Officer, RFU:

“We’re delighted to be working with a company of IBM’s calibre. This important new long-term agreement will enable the RFU to give fans even more insight and understanding into what’s happening on the pitch and why, as well as ensuring we remain at the forefront of new technology to enrich the overall fan experience.  Our plans also involve utilising IBM’s expertise to further benefit the grassroots game and enhance performance at the elite level.”

“In sport and business, data is a game changer, “said Martin Guillaume, Media and Sports Leader for IBM Global Business Services UK and Ireland. “IBM is powering new consumer experiences with advanced real -time analytics. By doing this, we offer a new way to enjoy the game, by uncovering insights that matter, enhancing the fan experience and providing vital feedback to players and stakeholders.”

This technology builds on what is already in use in well-known global tennis tournaments such as Wimbledon, The Australian Open and The US Open. IBM is tapping the power of predictive analytics to help deliver insights into everything touching performance, sports injuries, key plays and more. By delivering these insights directly to fans, IBM is driving a smarter sporting experience, giving millions of rugby fans around the world the tools to a more enjoyable game.

The world of sports, and many sporting teams alike, are finding new ways to uncover hidden insights from Big Data to gain a competitive edge.  Analytics continues to change how sport is being viewed and played, ensuring that fans have a complete interactive experience so they do not miss a moment.

The IBM TryTracker can be accessed by all mobile devices and tablets. The three Keys to the Game will be released every Thursday ahead of England games during the RBS 6 Nations.

England players face Twitter ban ahead of games

Today it has been announced by The FA that England players will be expected to sign up to a ‘code of conduct’.  It not only covers Twitter and Facebook but everything from use of video games, mobile phones and personal endorsements.

The role of social media channels has been one that has been under scrutiny for a long while.  With so many players with personal accounts, who have differing amounts of help in running them, and tweets especially being picked up instantaniously by the press and fans something had to give.

At least now the players have these written down in front of them and they know the sanctions they would face for transgressing them.  The section of most interest to us is on communication;

  • All media activity co-ordinated through press office.
  • All players should play a part in meeting media demands.
  • Go through mixed zones (guidance that no ear-phones etc worn).
  • No criticism on Twitter/Facebook.
  • No Twitter or Facebook comments on the day before the game or the day of the game unless authorised.
  • No media columns.
  • Be aware that texts, picture messages, and BBM messages, can become public.

(picture from Telegraph.co.uk)

The point that most people will take from it is the ‘no criticism on Twitter/Facebook’ which very obviously has been placed in following Ashley Cole’s comments to the John Terry decision made by The FA.

Some may see the timeframe for the ban on using social platforms as harsh but this is around a few games per year.  Thus the amount of communication during the year will be largely unaffected.  The one time it will become more of an issue will be around events.  Will the FA stop players from doing anything for the full duration?  Quite possibly.

Other sports who have restricted players activities are the NBA.  They have, for a few years now, had a rule in place that no player can use social media from between 45 mins before the game starts to a period of 45 mins after it finishes.  This has been to ensure that sensitive info is not given, that players are not tempted to tweet during games (Shaq did this in the early days) and also to give the media outlets who have paid for rights the exclusivity of breaking news and interviewing key figures.

In terms of what England players can expect if they do step over the line.  This can include;


  • Investigation carried out by CE.
  • All players must comply with investigation.
  • If breach found, then option of sanctions (oral/written warning, exclusion from selection for fixed or indefinite period).

(picture from Telegraph.co.uk)

  • Pending any outside investigation, (CPS etc) CE maintain right to suspend at their discretion.
  • If case not proven or dropped, players available for selection.
  • If non-custodial sentence, CE board decide on case-by-case basis.
  • Custodial – excluded until time to be determined by CE management board.
  • Serious allegations – captaincy may be removed at discretion of CEMB.


4.1: issuing an oral or written warning to the player.

4.2: determining that the player shall not be eligible for selection for a specific number of matches or specific period.

4.3: determining that the player shall not be eligible for an indefinite period.

  • Where an allegation of serious misconduct has been made, the Club England Management Board may suspend a player while the matter is investigated further and/or pending the outcome of any footballing regulations or criminal investigations.
  • Serious misconduct includes:
  • Theft, dishonesty, fraud, deliberate falsification of records.
  • Assault, battery, violence, deliberate damage to or misuse of FA property.
  • Breach of safety-security regulations.
  • Deliberate damage to FA property.
  • Being under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs.
  • Any form of discrimination.
  • Deliberate misuse of confidential information.
  • Serious breach of FA rules/regs.
  • No conduct that significant, materially or adversely impacts on reputation or integrity of FA.
  • ANY decision of CEMB is final – There is no right of appeal.
  • CEMB have power to publish in the press.

For more details on the rest of the items involved in the ‘code of conduct’ you can view the article here.

Show your #Support and Get Involved @VauxhallEngland

Vauxhall, the England team sponsor, is encouraging fans to show their #support and get involved via their dedicated England football twitter account, @VauxhallEngland.

Throughout the England Under 21 fixture against Serbia and England versus San Marino game at Wembley on Friday night England fans will be encouraged to join in the debate and show their support for the national team by voicing their opinions on the game in real time on twitter.

From score predictions to thoughts on who has performed well during the game the fans will have the opportunity to have their opinion heard by using the hashtag #support and tweeting @VauxhallEngland.

Simon Culley, Home Nations Marketing Manager at Vauxhall, said; “We are really excited about the social media engagement campaign during the game against San Marino.

“Vauxhall’s  social media strategy is focussed on engagement with the fans through our various platforms but this is the first time we have included some of our match day inventory to support the programme.

“For example we will be using the Vauxhall pitch side LED space to prompt the audience to get involved and show their support with various themes during the game.”

Vauxhall launched their football Social Media programme less than a year ago and now have over 60 thousand followers across the Home Nations.

Fans Chance to Send England Team Good Luck Message

Vauxhall, the England Team Sponsor, are giving England fans the chance to send their good luck video messages direct to the England team this week.

England supporters will have the chance to have their personal good luck video message shared with  the England squad ahead of the UEFA European Championship quarter final against Italy.

The best 10 videos submitted from entries to either the Vauxhall England Football Facebook page (www.Facebook.com/VauxhallEngland)  or @VauxhallEngland on twitter will be shared with Roy Hodgson’s team ahead of the big game in Kiev on Sunday.

The winners will also get their video played through Vauxhall Football TV and The FA social media channels before the quarter final showdown.

Peter Hope, Marketing Director at Vauxhall, said; “We are very excited about being able to facilitate the opportunity for England fans to send their good luck video messages direct to the team ahead of such an important game.

“Throughout our social media campaign the focus has been on giving the fans a behind the scenes view of what happens during internationals and this initiative goes just one step further.

“Being able to offer England fans the chance to be part of the build up to the Italy game and show their support for England is a unique and exciting prospect and we are grateful to The Football Association for their support.”

Peter Daire, Group Head of Sponsorship at The FA, said; “This is a superb example of fan engagement and we are delighted to support Vauxhall and get the fans closer to the England Team.

“The players and staff have been overwhelmed by the support they have received so far and this will help give them an idea of how much people back home are willing them to do well on Sunday.”

Vauxhall Offer England Fans Chance to go Home or Away

Vauxhall has this week launched a brand new Facebook competition giving England fans the opportunity to support Roy Hodgson’s men either at Home and Away this summer.

The England Team sponsor used digital agency Skive to develop the competition for fans to support their team in style this summer with a chance to travel to Ukraine or take part in a VIP Match screening in England with an England legend.

England fans can take part in a Home or Away quiz based on England team trivia and gives the winner the opportunity to choose where they would like to be watching the action this summer.

Peter Hope, Marketing Director of Vauxhall Motors, said; “As the England Team sponsor we wanted to be able to offer the ultimate fan experience for England fans either at Home or Away this summer.

“We have made a significant investment in our digital football platforms and the response to our activity has been very positive from the fans.

“Our Facebook competitions have been very well received by football fans and we are always looking to push the boundaries and give fans a unique experience through our sponsorship of the National team.”

Vauxhall’s Home or Away competition app is available via both desktop and mobile Facebook platforms.

Vauxhall launched their football social media platforms in October 2011 and currently have close to 45 thousand followers across all four Home Nations.

Become a fan of Vauxhall England on Facebook at www.facebook.com/VauxhallEngland

For more information on Vauxhall Football go to www.vauxhallfootball.co.uk

Follow @VauxhallEngland on twitter at https://twitter.com/VauxhallEngland

Exclusive: new England Facebook app launched

Ever fancied being a commentator for an England football game?  Do you have the wit, voice and knowledge to be a Martin Tyler or John Motson….or are you more of a David Pleat or Trevor Francis? I hope for your sake its the former!

Well last night The Football Association launched their latest Facebook competition app called “Be The Commentator“!

This is the latest in the recent range of competitions that has included ‘Facebook Row’ as the FA push more and more into the digital space.  The winner of the competition wins 5 tickets to the England v Sweden match on Tuesday 15th November at Wembley plus a signed England shirt.

The competition is an interesting take on generating User Generated Content (UGC) using social media.  This time it is not pictures and video but audio content.  The idea is to place yourself in the commentators seat and give it your best go at providing the voice for a nation to a 30 second clip of England v Portugal which finishes with Alan Shearer smashing one in.

When on the tab you can listen to the original commentary and it is even kind enough to flag up who is on the ball when they receive it.  The list includes Adams, Batty, Scholes and Shearer (it is quite an old clip!).

Are you going to put your vocal skills to the test?  It’s another interesting competition from the digital guys at The FA.  Be interesting to see how many people enter over the next couple of weeks.



Facebook Row at Wembley – England v Wales

Last night saw my friend and fellow social media advocate Daan and myself invited to Wembley to watch the England v Wales Euro Championship qualifier.  What was the social media twist you may ask….

A few weeks ago I wrote about The FA’s Facebook Row competition which originally was run around the England v Holland friendly game.  Unfortunately due to the London Riots the game was called off and the prize winners then invited back to the next game at Wembley Stadium.


There were some great elements from the night which I am sure all in the stadium and also those of you who watched on TV caught a glimpse of.  Firstly we were all given oversized Facebook hands to wave around before and during the game (I kept mine and grabbed another so have two – one for home and one for work!).

Secondly, and the more unique twist, was the use of the digital advertising boards.  You can see from the pics that the Facebook Row was heavily shown and included the profile pics of the winners.  How cool was it for them to see their face on the boards behind both goals all night! 

All the fans there were really passionate and created a great atmosphere.  They loved being shown on the big screen prior to the game and had a great night. 

Overall it was a great use of online which rewarded fans in the real world.  This online/offline activity is becoming more prevalent in campaigns but still doesn’t happen very often in sport.  Great work by The FA and the social team lead by Andy Smith.

Were you there?  What did you think of it?

Highlighted: ‘Facebook row’ tickets with the England Football Team

This week I had the pleasure of having drinks in London with some of the leading figures we have in social media covering sport and television.  One of those was Andy Smith who heads up the social media efforts at The FA.

One of the recent campaigns he has been integral to has been the Facebook competition you can currently see on the England Football Team page.  One thing I have been pleased to see with the page is that they avoided the common mistake made by NGB’s when it comes to social media.

Many times you will see an NGB (National Governing Body) create a page in their own name.  To me this brings with it the thought…why would I follow a governing body?!  To be honest if I wasn’t a hardcore fan or player of the sport then I wouldn’t.   The FA have the right approach in pushing the England Team, their most valuable and marketable asset and one that the everyday fan is going to have an allegiance with, as their following is so much bigger than the governing body would ever have.

If other bodies took this approach they would see a much bigger audience being opened up to them, more engagement and greater numbers joining.  When you search for a sport would you type in the name of the national team or the NGB?  My point proved I think.

Back to The FA….. the most recent campaign Andy has been part of is the ‘Win A Seat in Facebook Row’.  This in itself sounds exciting (and yes I have already entered the competition) so what does it entail?

For the upcoming England v Holland match they are offering 50 pairs of tickets to be won “to help our Facebook fans get closer to the action, winners will have their photos uploaded to the advertising boards at the match and will receive two tickets to ‘Facebook row’, pitchside at Wembley”.

It will be interesting to see how many entries the competition gets and how this affects the number of fans that ‘like’ the page.  One can assume the key metric on this is data collection with the next being growth of the page.  I’ll try to get an insight into this is the coming weeks.

Well done to the Fa and to Andy…keep up the good work and hopefully see you at Wembley!