Tag Archive | "Mobile"

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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Scarlets Rugby bring Season Ticket flyer to life using AR


Welsh rugby club, Scarlets Rugby, have teamed up with augmented reality innovators Blippar to launch a new interactive flyer in a bid to get a sales boost of 2014/15 season tickets .

Blippar is the leading mobile image-recognition platform for publishers, brands and advertisers and brings all types of print products to life. Aside from Scarlets Rugby they have worked with Pepsi, TIME Inc, Unilever, Nestle, P&G, Jaguar and many others. So the club’s in good company!

The ‘Invest. Inspire. Ignite.’ flyer launched today gives the reader a through-the-looking-glass view of Scarlets matchday including a walk through the home dressing room. With the help of Blippar, the Scarlets bring the static, physical world to life enhancing supporters’ Parc y Scarlets matchday experience wherever they are.

“As a leading sports club and facilities venue we have already showed our ambition to become a showcase for energy efficiency within stadia environments shortlisted as one of six finalists across the globe in Stadium Business Summit Awards. Today’s release of our interactive flyer shows what ambition we have to make strides in other areas of the business.

Scarlets is a name that resonates across the rugby world and we continue to strive to be the best. We are excited by the release of our interactive flyer and hope that our supporters will welcome this interactive communication tool. This is merely a taste of what’s to come!” – Scarlets General Manager, Jon Daniels

Scarlets-Blippar-Web-Image-01-01

It’s an interesting move, a first for a UK rugby club. We’ve seen glimpses of the use of AR in sport before through the Aurasma‘s sponsorship of Tottenham Hotspur. When first announced the new kit launch campaign had AR integrated into it and proved a hit with fans and the industry. And this was back in 2011! But we’ve not seen any major take up, missing out on the possibilities that the use of AR provides. To many it may be seen as cost prohibitive?

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It will be interesting to see both the pick up from trade (and normal) press and, more importantly, the fans. The final measure will be season ticket sales for the 2014-15 season, then it will be seen if it lasts more than the one summer promo.

Love to hear your thoughts below…

 

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New Second Screen Fantasy Football App enables viewers to interact with World Cup matches in Real Time


Ultimate Fan Live yesterday announced a new free mobile app that offers fans a social way to watch the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Fans who are not able to attend the World Cup in Brazil this summer can play the second screen fantasy football game using any iOS device. Instead of just watching on TV, Ultimate Fan Live players can compete in real time against their Facebook friends in a second screen game that syncs with the live match.

The unique mobile app provides a platform in which up to five friends compete against each other during live matches. They pick players and earn points based on players’ live performance on the pitch. In this way, friends engage with the game in real time and compete to top the Ultimate Fan Live ranks.

“Football viewing is no longer solely a passive spectator experience. Fantasy Football games are outdated, appealing only to hardcore fans that invest for an entire season. The promise of second screen offers an exciting new way to enjoy the World Cup with your friends.” - Sohail Godall, CEO and founder of Ultimate Fan Live.

Unlike traditional fantasy football leagues, Ultimate Fan Live can be used for short 90-minute games, so players do not need to commit for an entire season. It will enable millions of World Cup viewers around the world to have an even deeper level of enjoyment of matches as they try to follow the players in their game and not just those with the ball.

Philip Kelly-Ayo, an engineer who has been one of the app’s beta testers commented: “As Ultimate Fan Live is based on real data it offers a level of social connectivity and a deeper investment in the match being broadcast. It’s also a great source of banter with my friends!”

Ultimate Fan Live is available globally from the App Store for all iOS devices from 10th June 2014 for all 2014 FIFA World Cup live matches.

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Introducing Shuffl, the World Cup sweepstake app you should be using


Marmalade on Toast is a small, creative digital agency, based in Winchester. They’re passionate about all things creative and love sport. In 2012 they decided to run our own studio sweepstake for the European Championships, so created their very own web version, rather than cutting out bits of paper! The result was a simple, but effective website: http://euro2012.marmaladeontoast.co.uk/

It was released to the public, and was picked up by a number of users. When the World Cup came up this year, they realised they needed to update the website, and decided to create something truly unique. Hence Shuffl was born. Its designed to work across multiple devices, with groups of friends or colleagues, as you can see below.

With the new app, they wanted to retain the simplicity of the initial idea, but add in a twist. They looked at the way people engage with sports today, and as many people would be connecting via mobile or tablet devices, they realised they had an opportunity to create a cross-platform, cross-device app, with a fun, gaming element.

The idea of Panini stickers was an inspiration, and so they started on mobile, creating simple, graphic ‘cards’ for each team, and then devised a mechanism (the ‘shuffl’) to allow users to flip the cards across each others screens, almost like a roulette wheel. Once they’d tested the app on a few users, they knew it would be much more engaging than a simple sweepstake team selector.

The app launched on 20th May, using social media and email contacts from the original Euro sweepstake. The app has been widely picked up, with over 1000 users signing up within 3 weeks.

Games are stored, tweeted and shared, so that everyone knows just who has who in the World Cup sweepstakes. They’re hoping to take the app further, adapting it with unique designs for all major sporting events such as Wimbledon, the Rugby World Cup, Euro 2016 and beyond. Co-founder of Marmalade on Toast is Simon Harmer;

“Every time I play Shuffl with friends or colleagues, they love it. Its very addictive – my 6-aside team has so far racked up 4 different sweepstakes! I’ve only managed to pick up France and Italy so far, so I’m pushing for another one! The joy is watching the teams spin past on the devices, and waiting to see where Brazil or Spain drop in!”

Good luck to them! Give it a try and run your office sweepstake from http://justshuffl.com

shffl 1

 

 

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Manchester City become first Premier League club to roll-out full stadium Wi-Fi


Manchester City has become the first-ever Premier League Club to roll-out cutting edge High-Density Wi-Fi throughout their stadium.

With up to 30mb download speed, the large capacity network marks the culmination of a major digital initiative at the club. The free Wi-Fi technology enables fans to take advantage of the club’s range of apps, designed to enhance match-day engagement.

The club recently launched the interactive mobile game City Connect, as well as the travel guide app CityHome, designed specifically with away fans in mind.

The major upgrade to the Etihad Stadium facilities will allow home and away fans to connect through their phone or tablet devices, providing unrivalled levels of connectivity before, during and after games

The High-Density Wi-Fi network, designed and delivered by O2 in conjunction with Cisco is now available throughout the 48,000 capacity stadium, having undergone an extensive installation and testing process.

The new system has been installed throughout the ground, stadium perimeter and BT City Square, the Club’s outdoor fan entertainment zone – in order to enhance the overall visitor experience during live games and future events through mobile technology.

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With the new system in place, fans can now check-in to the stadium on Facebook, tweet about their experiences at the Etihad Stadium, post images on Instagram that could then appear on the stadium jumbo screens and watch pre-match videos on City’s newly released CityApp.

“The launch of High-Density Wi-Fi allows us to offer free, high speed Internet access to all our fans, marking an important step forward in Manchester City’s drive to become the most technologically and digitally advanced football club in the world.

“Mobile technology and social media in particular, play a key role in our fans’ match-day experience. It was, therefore important for us to embrace this growing trend and enable our fans to share their passion for the Club with fellow City supporters around the world, in real time, free of charge, all from the comfort of their seat.” - Diego Gigliani, Director of Marketing, Media & Fan Development

The Wi-Fi roll-out accompanies the re-launch of the club’s primary mobile application, City App. The free-to-download app, updated for iOS’s smartphone and tablet App Stores and newly launched on Android’s Google Play store (on which it has already received user reviews of 4.8 out of 5.0), includes:

  • News: Official Club news and match reports.
  • Videos: Free offering of all the latest CityTV videos including extended highlights, press conferences, news, interviews and features.
  • Match-day Centre: Live text commentary and team sheets of matches in play.
  • Fixtures: Calendar view of upcoming fixtures, downloadable to phone’s calendar.
  • Ticketing: Ticket availability and information to buy.
  • Shop: Mobile-optimised store to browse and purchase MCFC merchandise
  • Social media: Official MCFC Twitter updates.

“This was a technically challenging project, due to the size and scale of the installation process.  The dedicated Stadium Wireless network with significant download speeds allows us to continually innovate at the Etihad Stadium.  We are now able to integrate our social media and newly installed IPTV and ePOS solutions, enhancing the match-day experience of both home and away fans.” - Sanjeev Katwa, IT Director for City Football Group

 

City AppCity App

 

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THE Football App becomes OneFootball and launches TalkSPORT partnership


THE Football App becomes Onefootball, integrates new Team Stream and announces exclusive talkSPORT Premier League partnership.

The world’s leading football community, THE Football App, has rebranded as Onefootball with immediate effect. With this move, the Berlin-based company of CEO Lucas von Cranach has underlined the intent to further strengthen its position as the primary global platform for football fans to engage and get informed – anytime and anywhere.

To celebrate the new name, the makers of the app have today launched ‘Team Stream’; an entirely new structure that enables users of the platform to stay up to date with all news and events surrounding their favourite team. After updating or downloading the app respectively, users are asked to set their favourite club and national team, true to the company motto, “One team – Onefootball”.

“With our new Team Stream, users can follow their club and get the latest information, results and statistics, all customized to their needs and around their favourite team. Our goal is to bring football and all of its associated emotions to the fans, made-to-measure, no matter where they are located.” - CEO and founder Lucas von Cranach

The new Team Stream integrates social-media sources such as Twitter, delivering the best content from the world of football. Furthermore, Onefootball remains the go-to platform for any information related to the sport, be it results from more than 100 international leagues, videos, news or the latest transfer rumours. All are presented in unparalleled detail and unmatched quality, providing both global and local content, so that every fan has access to the best possible and most relevant information.

Onefootball has additionally partnered with the world’s most famous sports radio station talkSPORT. The partnership includes live and on-demand commentary of all Premier League matches and award-winning shows such as the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast, Colin Murray, and Drive with Adrian Durham and Darren Gough. The broadcasts will be available in several languages across continental Europe and South America.

Lucas von Cranach, CEO Onefootball adds, “This partnership will enable our community of football fans to listen to all Premier League matches live and exclusively on Onefootball. The addition of this audio content means we are now able to offer our users the ultimate football experience.”

Kurt Edwards, talkSPORT International Sales Director said, “This exciting new partnership brings together two of the biggest names in football distribution. As Global Audio Partner of the Premier League, this is a perfect way to bring talkSPORT’s exclusive commentaries and wider sports programming to even more passionate football fans around the world alongside Onefootball’s fantastic content.”

First launched in 2008, Onefootball is the most comprehensive football news and networking service. The platform enables fans around the globe to follow their team and features minute-by-minute score updates, news, video content, and statistics across more than 100 leagues worldwide in nine languages. Free to download, it is available for iOS devices, Android, Windows Phone, Windows 8, Asha devices (through the Nokia store) and Samsung SmartTV.

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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.

 

MLB

 

 

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Hull KR fans get exclusive digital content through new SmartPicture app


Guest Post: James Gordon is the MD of digital sports agency, Sportbox Media, set up in 2010 through his love of sport and digital. A Journalism graduate from the University of Central Lancashire, he was head-hunted for a job at leading digital agency Fast Web Media, where he worked on the official Carling Cup website, rugby sponsorship activation accounts for O2 and Leaders in Football.

Rugby League Super League club Hull KR are turning to digital to help revitalise a traditional mainstay of a sporting event, the match day programme.

SmartPicture is a new app developed by Eon Visual Media, available on Google Play and iTunes store, that enables fans to scan images on the match programmes with a mobile device to access a vast range of online content tailored to each fixture.

It was used for the first time in the home game against Castleford last Friday, and supporters can download it now to get access to video footage, competitions, team statistics and the club’s online commerce site. The app also promotes interactivity with and between the fans through social media.

Hull KR Marketing Manager, Craig Franklin, says the club are making an extra effort to embrace digital this season.

“All print publications are struggling, and the match day programme is no different. Instead of trying to grow it, you’re just looking at ways you can maintain it.

“A lot of the content in the programme is already in the public domain before the match, so the app now enables us to create more exclusive content and add value back in to the programme.

“It means the programme is no longer confined to the number of pages. We don’t want to stand still, and we want to continue to develop and add more features, such as a man of the match vote.”

The Robins revealed their squad numbers one by one via Twitter earlier this year, from 30 all the way down, and are holding mini fans forum events every week which includes highlights of games.

They have seen a growth in their Twitter following over recent months due to a number of these initiatives, and they hope to hold live web chats in the near future.

With a vast array of digital technologies at every club’s disposal these days, Franklin admits it’s difficult to keep up, as well as maintaining their marketing efforts in traditional areas.

The beauty of the new app means that their traditional programme can run unaffected, and readers won’t be able to see a noticeable difference from pre-app productions. He added:

“It’s very difficult. There are various ways to do things, and I don’t think there are many organisations who have got it spot on. The web and social media are so important, but there are still people who don’t use of any of these, so we’ve still got to make things like the programme available.

“The flip side is there is the younger generation who want everything quickly and up to date, and there are so many platforms to talk to them on. It’s a balancing act, combining that with fulfilling traditional duties such as local newspaper and radio coverage, which are so important to the club.”

The challenge in making these new platforms work is them being embraced by other clubs too. With clubs not competing for the same fans, on the basis that someone wouldn’t switch allegiance, if a club finds that something works, then others should follow suit.

And Franklin says that the app will be even better if more clubs sign up. He added:

“It brings the possibility of cross-club activity. We could then work with say Castleford to produce content for their fans, which means we can potentially engage with everybody in the stadium.”

Update…

During the Castleford game more than 50% of people who bought a programme at Hull KR’s match scanned it using the app. So a great starting point for engagement and interaction. Could this be the start of something big?

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Wembley Stadium launches first mobile app to mark new partnership with EE


Wembley Stadium and EE have announced the launch of a new bespoke Wembley app as part of the historic partnership deal signed this week which sees the stadium referenced as Wembley Stadium connected by EE.  Available now, the official Wembley app is designed to enhance the unforgettable experience of visiting Wembley Stadium.

Upon signing EE as lead stadium partner both Wembley and EE, the UK’s most advanced digital communications company, have committed to delivering the best possible spectator experience from ‘sofa to seat’ using innovation and communications technology delivered by EE.

The app is the first live touch point of the planned technology ‘road map’ to be delivered over the course of the six-year deal which also includes mobile ticketing solutions and WiFi.

The free app will help users to plan their visit to Wembley by delivering helpful and relevant information throughout the journey from planning which event to attend and purchasing a ticket to travelling to the stadium and locating a seat.

Features from launch include:

  • A dynamic feed of event content including all the latest news including video, images and audio clips
  • The latest ticketing information
  • An interactive stadium map that allows users to find their way around and check the view from their seat
  • A national travel planner to help stadium visitors plan the best journey to and from the stadium

Rob Ray, FA Group Director of Digital & Information technology, said:

“The Wembley app represents the first of many fan focussed experiences that the Wembley connected by EE partnership is set to deliver.   We look forward to working with EE to deliver an unparalleled connected experience for our event owners and their fans.”

Spencer McHugh, Director of Brand at EE said:

“We worked with Future Platforms to deliver an app that places the stadium visitor at the heart of the experience, facilitating and complimenting the Wembley ‘sofa to seat’ experience. As the first touch point of EE’s exciting new partnership with Wembley we wanted to showcase the benefits that this collaboration can bring from day one and there is lots more to come in 2014 and beyond.”

Planned app features for future updates include location based offers, digital queue management, audience participation and more. Further information will be announced in due course.

The Wembley app is now available to all for free from the App Store and Google Play

Official Wembley EE app 26.02 (1)Official Wembley EE app 26.02 (2)

 

Official Wembley EE app 26.02 (3)Official Wembley EE app 26.02 (4)

 

 

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Man City launch first-ever mobile app for away fans


Ahead of this week Champions League clash with FC Barcelona, the club has launched a first-ever smartphone app designed with away fans firmly in mind.

Available on both iOS and Android devices, CityHome, or CanCity in Catalan, will provide Barca fans with a wide range of recommendations on what to do and see whilst visiting the city of Manchester.  That could be restaurants, bars, shopping or simply sightseeing, all at the touch of a button.

CityHome can be viewed in English, Catalan or Spanish and also includes travel advice for fans making their way to the stadium by foot, bus, train or tram for the Round of 16 tie.  When the arrive at the Etihad Campus supporters can then use the app to learn about the different pre-match events taking place in the fan-zone (BT City Square) such as pundit reviews and musical performances.

In the build up to the match there are expected stats from the group stages, stats about previous encounters and other stats.  They are also encouraged to participate in the day’s ‘excitement’ by taking pics of themselves over a graphic of the two clubs’ crests.

Lastly, as if there isn’t enough on the app, they can learn about Man City through a sample of CityTV content, an introduction to New York City FC (their new MLS venture) and the Harlem Shake.

Once the match has finished the info will change to the next opponents they will be facing.  It’s a really nice idea which targets a specific set of people who may need the information they are providing.  The clubs’ Director of Marketing, Diego Gigliani, said;

“As a club that has deep roots in the community, we are extremely passionate about putting Manchester on the European map as a destination for leisure and tourism, in addition to world class football.  Our new match app has been designed to ensure visiting fans not only receive information that will enhance their match-day experience, but also their stay in this great city.”

It’s another example of Man City taking the lead when it comes to digital innovation.  Showing clubs, such as their city rivals United, the way forward in fan engagement…even when it’s not even their own fans.

Download links:  iOS (http://t.co/FBHI3btGHM), Android (http://t.co/Ftn02GXR1e)

cityhome

 

 

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