Tag Archive | "Mobile"

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

 

 

Posted in Mobile, Sport, TechComments (3)

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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Squawka launch iPhone app and hit record 2.1m web visitors in December


London-based ‘technology-first’ media owner Squawka has announced record traffic figures for December 2013 and huge engagement figures for their recently released iPhone app.

Squawka.com officially launched in July 2012 to provide second screen coverage of the UEFA European Championships with real-time visualised data (licensed from Opta - www.optasports.com) alongside social media and editorial. Since then the site has expanded to give fans a 24/7 experience by adding pages for every team & player alongside a full-time editorial & social team using data and graphics to power football articles.

A packed December EPL schedule paved the way for a record-breaking month for Squawka.com – delivering over 2.1 million visitors with over 1 million of those being unique.

The biggest game day of the Xmas period was Tuesday 26th Dec which included Man City Vs Liverpool with over 96k users visiting Squawka.com.

The team has also revealed the engagement data for their iPhone app – The Squawka Football App, which was released on November 22nd 2013 and hit 2nd in the App Store charts for Sport. On average, users are viewing a phenomenal 10 screens per session with an average dwell time of 7 minutes.

Co-Founder & CEO Sanjit Atwal said,

The growth over the Christmas period has been astounding and January is on course to be even bigger. The most satisfying metrics have to be the app engagement figures – to know that fans are spending so long and viewing so many unique screens in their search to know more about their favourite teams and players is fantastic and shows the growth of sports data consumption amongst fans.”

Social Media for Squawka has also seen huge uplifts with a total December reach of over 170 million fans around the world across the Squawka Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Google+ & Pinterest accounts.

Squawka Social Media Manager Jake Gallagher said, 

‘The team have been refining the social strategy channel by channel over the past 12 months and December was the satisfying result of a lot of hard work to optimise data visualisations & content to best engage football fans.” 

 

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Referee Pro: the next evolution in digital sport?


Guest Post: Dominic Rust is a Sports Journalism student at Southampton Solent University and guest writer at Formula One FanCast and Tibs News.

Referee Pro just could be the latest, and one of the most significant, tech developments in football.  Not only does it makes the much berated Referee’s life considerably easier but also helps bring fans closer to the action.

Developers Sinne have in essence replaced the need for a pen and pencil with a smart phone device.  Its already been used in the largest football competition in Mexico, the Telmex Cup, in which thousands of local amateur teams compete and it’s already been seen as a success in this initial trial run.

In recent times, the decisions of the refs to give yellow/red cards and the decision making behind those calls has seen a lot of interest especially on social media.  It has been suggested that the app can help referees with the numerous decisions they need to make.

“Referee Pro is a simple but elegant approach to connect grassroots football to quantified self-data and social networks online.  A well as being a superb modern tool (replacing pen and paper) for the referees, it enables realtime upload of match data and tracking of match stats for grassroots and amateur games.” - Founder, Ed Maklouf

During the tournament in Mexico, the official’s decisions and match stats were distributed from the Referee Pro Smart device direct onto platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

Fans can then follow their team and receive notifications of goals, yellow cards and other stats direct from the referee’s notebook. Amateur players are given a recording of the data including how many minutes they play, their goals and how their teams perform.

The London and Barcelona based company that created this smart device app are well known for other technical aids.  They have looked to develop this app with the aim to become one of the first to use sports technology to help officials in their control the game.

Goal line technology has taken Football years to be implemented due to its complexities, but Referee Pro has taken just a couple of months of development. The smart device app gives fans highly informative statistical information on the game they are currently watching.

Refereeing is a really tough job and technology could greatly assist in the many decisions they need to make during a single game.

The app is not available for download but is a service that varies in cost according to how much the chosen league uses it:

“Referee Pro is a full system designed for leagues and tournaments, rather than something referee’s use independently. The charge to the league depends on the social network features, the devices they require and the number of matches they cover with the service.”

Strategist and Founder Ed Maklouf now wants to expand Referee Pro to more countries including leagues in Europe and the United States.  But could it work over here?

Yes, I think so but the various leagues would have to pay for the app depending on how many matches they use it for.  I don’t think the FA, for example, would pay for 38 premier league games straight away.

Taking the information from the game and using it as either a stand-alone app or part of a club or league app would certainly add to the fan experience.  It wouldn’t give all the info a referee has (the exact reasons why he decided not to give that penalty) but we’d certainly know what has happened when and to who.

Depending on the cost, we’d have to wait on the usual process of having to go through a trial process in the Carling Cup or a lower league.  Then if it succeeded, the powers that be might one day give it a chance and we’ll see it in our own Premier League or even a World Cup.

It would also be easy to extend into other sports, so this may one day soon become a big player in a number of our sports.  Lets wait and see but it’s an exciting development for sure.

Referee Pro

 

Referee Pro

 

 

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Digital Sport Trends 2014


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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Newcastle Falcons target Fan Engagement with new Mobile app


At the start of the December, Newcastle Falcons, the North East’s only professional rugby club, teamed up with local tech company Spontly to produce a new interactive experience for fans of the club.

What they have looked to create is a Newcastle Falcons’ mobile App that enables fans to take photos and post commentary during a match which will be instantly available online.

The app is available for both iOS and Android devices and allows fans within the Falcons’ Kingston Park stadium, elsewhere across the region and beyond to share every moment of top-flight rugby in the North.

Duncan Edward, commercial director at Newcastle Falcons said:

“The club has seen a big increase in fan engagement since we fully embraced social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, and since the recent launch of our new website. For us the Newcastle Falcons App is the next phase of that strategy to engage with fans through the use of new technology.”

“We’re very excited to be amongst the first businesses to produce our own mobile app using the Spontly product. The technology available through Spontly allows us to interact directly with our fans and opens up many new and exciting ideas to help us provide fans with a top class match day experience. The App also has extra benefits for a wide range of off-field events held at Kingston Park and this is something we look forward to exploring further.”

It launched in time for the first game of the month against Harlequins.  With the help of some promotion by the club, they achieved some encouraging results;

  • 1000 app downloads
  • 250+ posts to Facebook and Twitter during the match
  • Increased website traffic
  • Data collected from every user

Jim Mann, CEO at Spontly, reported on the first weekend of its use by saying:

“The initial uptake and usage from the Falcons fans has been amazing – way beyond what we had anticipated. The usual 90:10 rule of content creators to content consumers holds in terms of posting but we have seen far more people active in other ways, checking in to events and following each other. We are very excited about the rapid uptake and looking forward to seeing how the network grows”

When I asked Jim about an issue that we have discussing in more frequency at events and on Twitter recently is stadium connectivity.  So how does an app that is aimed at those within the stadium mainly handle this?

It’s obviously a question that they have been looking to answer as well.  According to Jim they use compression techniques and an outbox function that stores and then sends the posts in the background as and when there is a connection.  So even in short periods of time when this is available they will be sent from the outbox.  Thus relying more on 3G than any wifi connections.

The ultimate aim for them has been to design a seamless user experience, very important when looking to draw users in on a regular basis.  So even though there may not be a connection, the app still works the same.  The end of those annoying error messages hopefully.

The Newcastle Falcons App is available free of charge from the iTunes and Google App stores.

Newcastle-Falcons-Event-Stream

 

 

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