Tag Archive | "Marketing"

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.


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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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adidas launch live World Cup YouTube show, ‘The Dugout’

The picture is becoming clearer from one of the biggest sponsors of FIFA, who recently extended their deal until 2030, after the release of their recent TV ad… and now news of a brand new YouTube series. It presents a major shift for the sports brand as they go directly after World Cup broadcasters, stating that “the traditional press conference is no more..”!

The global sports manufactorer is going to be broadcasting live from Rio a series of exclusive programmes on the platform starting from the first day of the World Cup, June 12th. It’s a very similar move to that of Hyundai UK who teamed up with YouTube backed football channel Copa90 earlier in the year, though with a different emphasis. adidas have got together with Kick TV, the US equivalents of Copa90, which is part of MLS Digital for this one.

It will be hosted by Jimmy Conrad, Layla Anne-Lee and Hugh Wizzy and give fans the opportunity to take part in a virtual press conference incorporating live interviews with the likes of Cafu, Kaka and Lucas Moura, adidas product reviews, behind-the-scenes action with adidas sponsored teams and chances to win prizes.

It’s another part of the adidas sponsorship plan that has been over 2 years in the making. London-based social media agency We Are Social will have been closely involved in the strategy and will I’m sure be on-site working long shifts to make this the best campaign ever.

Senior PR Manager (adidas Football), Rob Hughes, someone I knew well from my time at WAS (disclosure: I used to work on the adidas account at WAS), has said;

“The Dugout is a very exciting concept for Adidas, bringing together the best of Adidas talent with the reach of YouTube. The broadcasts will allow all football fans around the world to participate in the global conversation surrounding the Fifa World Cup. This youth-magazine-style football show will be fans’ inside view into the tournament, showcasing Brazil at its best with many famous faces and will be a must-watch throughout the competition,”

The first show is being aired at 2.00pm BST (10.00am BRT) and there will be 6 in total as part of the #AllInOrNothing campaign that has been intriguing commentators around the world since its launch. The final show will be on the eve of the World Cup Final. You’ll be able to watch it on the adidas Football YouTube page at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uuAPWG5e8lQ&feature=share

“The streaming of live adidas shows from Brazil is a unique brand proposition and a great example of a strategic partnership creating new, engaging and innovative content to a relevant audience. Our partnership with adidas has already seen us work together on many elements of their World Cup campaign, and these broadcasts will position adidas and YouTube at the heart of the conversation around this summer’s tournament. We are delighted that the World Cup’s number one partner, adidas, has chosen YouTube to play such a central role in their World Cup campaign.” - Lucas Watson, VP, Global Brand Solutions at YouTube.

It’s another different approach we’ve seen in recent weeks, but not so different from what Hyundai have put together. It is is though an example of a brand directly taking on traditional broadcasters as they make use of their access to players, coaches and other World Cup content. They’re also working with an already established YouTube channel in Kick TV and thus will be tapping into their audience. The start of a new trend?

Add to that the expected big spend using YouTube TrueView and they’re be looking to get the attention of every football fan out there. I also expect to see and really tight and well executed social media plan that will bring others into the conversation.

Will you be tuning in?


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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

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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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Event: The Impact of Digital Technology and Social Media on Sport

On Monday 23rd June I’ll have the pleasure of being on a panel as part of Birkbeck University’s Business Week (which runs from 23rd – 26th). The panel, as the title suggests, is quite a broad one but will mainly be looking at the ‘mega sport events’ such as London 2012 and the FIFA World Cup in Brazil. It’s an event I’m really looking forward to, there are more details on it below…

You can get more details on the event and find the booking link (it’s free to attend) on http://www.bbk.ac.uk/bizweek

Digital technology and social media are playing an increasingly important role in the business of sport, particularly in the management of sports events. This keynote and panel session will discuss contemporary usage and possible future trends in digital technology and social media in sport. The keynote speaker, Richard Ayers, is the founder and CEO of Seven League, a digital media firm with a specialism in sport. He has worked as Head of Digital for Manchester City FC and is also proud to have helped Channel 4 with their digital coverage of the Paralympics 2012.

Richard will discuss his rich experience in the field, drawing on his knowledge of music, film, newspapers and publishing, as well as sport. In particular, he will examine:

  • the capacity sports organisations have to facilitate and moderate engagement from various audiences;
  • the ways in which social media can be used for the good of sport; and
  • issues around data visualisation and ‘datatainment’.

Panel discussion

The panel members will each introduce themselves, explain their backgrounds and views on digital technology and social media and discuss how these technologies were used in London 2012 and how they are being (and will be) used in Rio. In particular, the panellists will discuss what the challenges are that sports organisations and host cities face in this field. There will also be an opportunity for a lively question-and-answer session.

Panel members

  • Alex Balfour: Former Chief Digital Officer at the Engine Group and Head of New Media at LOCOG
  • Tom Thirwall: CEO, Bigballs Films
  • Dan McLaren: Founder and Editor-in-Chief, UK Sports Network
  • Gill Leivesley: Management Consultant, Takeout
  • George Rousoss: Professor of Pervasive Computing, Birkbeck (CS & IS)

Topics will include the ability of sports organisations to facilitate and moderate engagement from various audiences, the ways in which social media can be used for the good of sport and challenges around data visualisation and ‘datatainment’.




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My Top 5 World Cup Digital Trends

At our latest Digital Sport London event I spent the opening part of the night speaking about what a few of the brands are up to as we approach the World Cup. It’s an area that always fills up a lot of column inches within the trade press and this year is no different.

One thing that is apparent though is the lack of hype this year. The England team is not expected to do so well and maybe this is reflected in the size of the push and innovation by brands. Marketing Week have brought this up in their article, that beyond the traditional sponsors there is a lack of action – which ultimately may be a missed opportunity.

When going through the activations that we’ve seen from the likes of adidas, Nike, Sony, McDonalds, Coca Cola and Hyundai there were some themes that started to become clear.


The likes of adidas, Budweiser, Johnson & Johnson and Volkswagon have all signalled their intent to make sure they don’t miss a single opportunity. As we’ve seen from the previous couple of Superbowls there is a shift towards brands setting up these ‘newsrooms’ where they exploit the World Cup’s memorable moments (both good and bad) and compete directly with broadcasters for fan’s attention.

The advantage of setting up these teams is that all the decision makers and ‘doers’ are together and can create and approve content in near real-time. Thus delivering something entertaining or useful to fans when they are in a prime state to consume it.  How well it will work and how they will tap into the different nations taking part will be interesting.


This does follow on, and overlap somewhat, with what we’ve already been discussing. But what we’ve seen this year is a move away from traditional forms of advertising and fan engagement to tapping into channels that already have that audience in place.  This is best shown by a couple of relationships that have already been working away.

The main one here in the UK is Hyundai’s relationship with Copa90, one of YouTube’s original funded channels in Europe and has an established audience of almost 700,000 subscribers. They have been producing a series of films in Brazil and offered a fan a chance to head to the World Cup.  During the tournament, as Simon Joyce (Hyundai UK sponsorship manager) shared with us at this week’s event, they will be involved with a number of films that bring together different presenters from the channel. It’s certainly going to offer something different.

Budweiser is the other sponsor that has taken a similar route. Their partnership with Fox Sports and Vice  for their “Rise as One” campaign includes two web series which has been part of a global push. Both of these partnerships show that brands are starting to look beyond traditional solutions to offer something different to fans.

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The last World Cup, and everything from Champions League Finals to the Sochi Winter Olympics, have been dominated by Twitter. It has become the place for brands to go to speak directly to fans in an authentic way. Because of the way the platform has worked, it has been easy to show of your content (unfiltered) and for the platform to showcase that content, the results and share updates. The record for Tweets per Second is broken with every new event and is easy to PR.

We’ve seen in recent months moves from Facebook to move in on Twitter’s territory though. Their partnership with CNN to create the CNN Facebook Pulse, a digital dashboard that sits on CNN.com is a big call out to their main rival. We’ve seen tweet maps, trending topics and much more from Twitter – now they’ll be competing to host the same conversations. Will fans just use both? Will it make any difference? and will brands choose now to head to Facebook over Twitter for the World Cup?


In a move that some have seen as potentially a show of arrogance by adidas, it’s safe to say their new “All In or Nothing” campaign is certainly different. It gives fans the choice to receive all of adidas’ World Cup communications…. or opting out and receiving nothing. Basically blocking all the comms.

“If consumers decide against joining adidas and its FIFA World Cup communications, adidas is happy to let them leave the team as it focuses on quality over quantity in its social media audience,” the company said.

It could be seen as a brave move but what is obvious is that they are going for brand advocates, those who love the brand, rather than passing audiences who require a lot of investment for potentially little return. ‘Rewarding’ fans with great content that they will hope is shared by them and creating an air of exclusivity could work. Though the numbers of fans/conversations may be reduced, if the bottom-line £ increases then it will be seen as a success.

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Once again there is a lot of overlap in this one a couple that have already been talked about. But it is worth mentioning on its own merits. Match footage has a short shelf life and if you rely on it as your main campaign content you’re going to be competing with thousands of others for the same space.

What will set brands (and broadcasters) apart is how they tell the story of the event, those playing and how the brand fits into that story. The likes of Budweiser and Hyundai have already started that with their relationships mentioned earlier but others still have time to get this right. Brazil is famous for its passion for football and there are many stories to be told around what makes this such a special event. If the brand can seamlessly fit into this (or just provide the platform) then they can make a big impact.


Have we covered everything in here? By no means. Other sites such as The Drum and Econsultancy have their say in recent days as to how brands could best seize upon this once-every-four-years opportunity. We haven’t even touched upon social hubs (Sony and FIFA have both launched their own) and second screening, which every brand and broadcaster will be looking to best serve.

Which brands do you think have nailed this World Cup the best so far on digital?


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Startup helping sports teams and brands connect with Chinese fans

KAWO, a social media management tool that helps businesses repurpose and automate existing social media content onto Chinese channels like Weibo and WeChat, has officially launched a specialized page targeting the sports industry to deliver Chinese social media to their clients.

Although the sports market in China is taking off, with particular growth in sport leagues like the NFL and UFC, since key social media channels like Facebook and Twitter are blocked, it’s difficult for athletes, teams, leagues, and agencies around the world to tap into the huge spending power of Chinese sports fans and maximize exposure to commercial opportunities.

Founded by Australian entrepreneur Andrew Collins, the Shanghai-based social media agency gives brands digital access to over 600 million people by automatically pulling their existing Facebook and Twitter content onto a central dashboard, where moderators translate and then push it via KAWO directly on a brand’s Chinese social network accounts.

KAWO dashboard

Benefits include;

  • Transparency: A single dashboard gives brands complete control and an overview of all their networks, as well as athletes, teams, or leagues.
  • Exclusive Sports Insight: Includes case studies, resources, and materials to sell social media with a punch.
  • Protection: The system is supported by KAWO Protect, a system with a blend of automated flagging and experienced human moderation, that screens potentially sensitive content for the Chinese market.
  • Competitor Intelligence: Keep track of competitive fan accounts, engagement, trending posts and measure your performance against theirs.

The International Federation of Volleyball (FIVB) is an association who have been one of the first to use the new platform;

“Thanks to KAWO, Chinese fans can connect with us on social media, and the FIVB is well on its way to achieving its social media mission to be the sport’s official commentator, form relationships with fans, influence behavior and engage an audience to bring the spectacular sport of volleyball to China.”

With brands, teams, associations and athletes all looking at ways in which they can access most easily this huge sports market, this could be a step in the right direction for some. It is an unknown market to many but the recognition at the top end of it’s importance means that agencies such as KAWO are positioning themselves in the right place and at the right time.

They are already being used by the likes of Manchester United, International Table Tennis Federation, Liverpool FC and Mercedes AMG.


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Betfair helping fans to pick a Grand National winner with Equinder

It’s always difficult to back the right horse… BETFAIR has taken inspiration from dating phenomenon Tinder, to help find the perfect ride

Online betting company, Betfair, has launched ‘Equinder’ for those in need of a helping hand in selecting the ultimate Mare or Gelding for the Grand National, there’s even a chance for the fan of the more mature partner.

In a further move to provide people with an innovative experience of betting on major sporting moments, Betfair has created a web-based mobile app that brings the positivity around online dating to the heart of the Grand National.

Rather than randomly selecting your Grand National runner or simply backing the favourite, Betfair allows users to enter details, including their favoured football team and uses a cross matching algorithm that pairs them with the most relevant horse in the big race. People then have the option to swipe right or left, accepting or rejecting their match before being given the opportunity to place a bet.

As people find ever more strange ways of selecting a horse for the famous steeple chase, Betfair has found a way to encapsulate the fun and excitement of the Grand National into an easy to use social platform that ensures every horse can find its perfect partner.

Betfair has even created a secret profile on Tinder offering free bets to those who stumble across the ‘Betfair horse’ as it journeys up to Aintree. Users that stumble across the correct profile will be sent a set of instructions to receive a free bet. This way even the loneliest soul could end up a winner.

“At Betfair, we consistently endeavour to create innovative and thrilling betting experiences for our customers, as well as attracting new users, and what better way to help people select their horse for the Grand National than creating a new Tinder style web app. We’ve seen how easy it is for people to find a stallion or a filly online, so we wanted to bring the same sense of fun and ease to the National.” - Harry Phillips, Consumer PR Manager




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Derby County win “Best Digital Content” at Football League Awards

Sunday night saw the most interactive and widely broadcast Football League Awards ceremony in its history.  Taking place at The Brewery in London it not only hosted 600 guests from clubs, sponsors and the football industry but was broadcast on YouTube and Facebook as well.

The streaming of the awards was primarily on the Football League’s YouTube and Facebook pages but was also syndicated out to club websites and YouTube channels.  The main awards were for the players with Danny Ings picking up the Sky Bet Championship Player of the Year.

On top of that they employed ScribbleLive, who are a partner of the Football League now, to run a live blog throughout the evening.  Running this alongside the livestream gave fans more of a reason to watch the awards of the FL website, something they’re keen to increase.

Results of the livestream are pretty impressive. The Football League has revealed to us that it received 59,860 unique visitors to the live blogging page. Those people spent on average 8min 36 secs on the page.

From the point of view of this site the main interest revolved around the “Perform Best Digital Content and Audience Growth Award”.  There were 5 teams nominated for this category; AFC Bournemouth, Coventry City, Derby County, Oxford United and Queens Park Rangers.

The category was assessed by a team of judges and was based on which club could best demonstrate results that they achieved during 2013 in developing content to grow audience to their websites and channels.

The team that came out on top was Derby County for their ‘Return of the Mac’ campaign, which was delivered across a number of mediums.  The campaign centered around the return of manager Steve McClaren to the club, he was assistant manager from 1995-99, in September 2013.

Derby County Football League Awards

The strategy was designed to encourage fans to back the new management after the sacking of popular manager Nigel Clough.  The result of their efforts led to an increase in the number of unique visitors per month to over 200,000 and improved social conversion rates to nearly 25%.

On winning the award, the club’s Multi-Media Editor Matt Reeder said;

We saw the opportunity with Steve’s appointment to re-engage with the fans and built the ‘Return of the Mac’ strapline which came from Faye Nixon in our marketing department.  We worked on the whole concept and also looked at how we could re-engage with our fans across all platforms – RamsPlayer, the website, Twitter, YouTube.

Before ‘Return of the Mac’ we looked at how we could drive that exclusivity we could offer with the new manager and took ownership of that which meant we were the first place fans came to.”

Well done to Derby County and their digital comms team.  We’re hoping to speak with the club in more detail within the next days and have a new article up about the club and their digital plans.

You can watch the whole 1hr 40min+ video below of the ceremony with every award covered.

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How to boost the stadium experience, 3 problems & solutions

Guest Post: Tim Groot is a business developer at Nodes with a prime focus on introducing new technologies into new and existing businesses. Nodes is one of Northern Europe’s most experienced mobile app development agencies. Contact Tim at tigr@nodesagency.com

Last week I had the great privilege to watch a football match from a corporate box in Wembley stadium. Because of my interest in how technology can improve our lives my visit to the stadium was no exception for me to think about possible improvements.

I encountered 3 major problems in football stadiums that can be solved with beacons, iBeacon technology and a mobile app.

1. Finding your Seat

Finding a building or city has been solved by navigation apps and systems but I do not simply want to go to the Stadium. I want to go to box 3094 row 2 seat 7, of course you can ask 3 different stewards or get someone to pick you up in front of the stadium. But I prefer to find places on my own without the help of other people.

iBeacon technology is the perfect solution to this problem, by putting beacons on critical places around and inside the stadium I could easily be guided to my seat. This solution does not rely on people having an Internet connection. The only thing you need is a smartphone and the app of the stadium you are visiting.

2. Knowing the crowded locations

Football matches have the problem that there is only one break and that means that thousands of people have to buy a drink and visit the toilet in 15 minutes. The big question is what do you do first and where? Some people always know to find the right toilet and kiosk ‘just around the corner’ that is completely deserted. On the other hand I always end up at the crowded kiosk and the dirty toilet.

This problem could also be solved with beacons, because if you would place a beacon next to the toilets and kiosks you could simply register how many people that have the app are close to it. Make this information available to fans in the app and everybody will search for the place that is a little less crowded. This will result in a higher efficiency of the stadiums resources and a better experience for the fans.

3. Loyalty

How do you know if someone is just a one-time visitor that doesn’t know the way or a passionate fan that has never missed a match? Both would like to be treated as such but that is impossible to realize without technology. It is a big problem for loyalty schemes and personalized information. Again iBeacon technology together with an app is the solution. Register how many times someone has been in range of a specific beacon and assign different notifications to the frequency and number of times the visitor has been there.

When I arrive at the stadium I want to know how to get to my seat. Whereas a frequent visitor should be rewarded for his loyalty with a beer at the pub he always buys a beer. Nothing screaming with a lot of capital letters and exclamation marks, simply:

Hi Andrew, cool you are here again!

As a small thank you a cold beer is waiting for you at the Hairy Dog.

This is just the beginning…

This really is just the beginning of iBeacon technology and I only mention a couple of problems that can be solved with this technology, but it is important that stadiums realize this is something they can’t ignore. Although it might be expensive to implement this technology at such an early stage, it is worth every penny because of the media attention alone as you can see in the case of the Major League Baseball.

However most importantly is that it will change the way we experience a visit to the stadium it will be personalized, easier, and more fun.





Posted in Mobile, Sport, TechComments (3)

The Global Sports Symposium: 15th May

This summer a new conference will be gracing our diaries, The Global Sports Symposium.

The Global Sports Symposium, which is being presented by the same team behind the US-based Ivy Sports Symposium (Sports Symposium, Inc.), this student-run event, will bring together the leading decision-makers of the industry for a day of networking, discourse and learning.  The organization is excited to be expanding internationally by hosting the first GSS in partnership with Arsenal FC and Emirates Stadium.

“One of my top goals when assuming the role of Executive Director was finding a way to take our event international,” said Sports Symposium Executive Director Alex Rosen. “The Symposium family cannot wait to share the unique experience of attending one of our events with both students and professionals at the world-class Emirates Stadium.”

Established in 2006, Sports Symposium, Inc. is a student-run, non-profit organization that sets the standard for sports business education.  In their eight-year history, events have featured more than 300 unique speakers from around the world representing all facets of the sports business.

Past speakers from the event have included:

  • Gary Bettman, Commissioner, National Hockey League
  • Tom Verducci, Senior Writer, Sports Illustrated
  • Arn Tellem, Vice Chairman and President, Team Sports, Wasserman Media Group
  • Wyc Grousbeck, Chief Executive Officer, Boston Celtics
  • Lisa Baird, CMO, United States Olympic Committee
  • Peter Moore, President, EA Sports

The Sports Symposium has traditionally welcomed student attendees from over 60 colleges and universities and professional delegates from a wide range of companies.  Its intimate setting combined with engaging content and dynamic speakers have made it a “must attend” event every year.

Confirmed speakers so far are:

  • Bob Reeves (President, RFU)
  • Chuck Baker (Partner, DLA Piper)
  • Matthew Baxter (Chief of Media, Liverpool FC)
  • Mark Lamping (President, Jacksonville Jaguars)
  • Marc Reeves (International Commercial Director, NFL)
  • Stephen Nuttall (Senior Director, Sports YouTube EMEA)
  • Tom Fox (Chief Commercial Officer, Arsenal)

The symposium promises to bring a 360 degree view of the Sports Business world, with talks and panels representing all aspects of the business. However, it comes with a nice twist as it’s aimed at both seasoned professionals and those who want to enter the business.

“Throughout the planning process the student-run team has received positive feedback from the industry leaders it has reached out to.  We believe this is a testament to the US-based Ivy Sports Symposium that has attracted top industry names over the course of its eight-year history. We are expecting similar successes for this first event in the UK and continue to get excited as we move forward with our planning.”– Harriet Thayer, 2014 Global Sports Symposium Co-Chair

The 1st annual Global Sports Symposium (“GSS”) takes place on Thursday, May 15, 2014 at Emirates Stadium in London. The registration page can be accessed from: http://www.sportssymposium.org or here: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/global-sports-symposium-emirates-stadium-tickets-10440779653


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