Tag Archive | "Sport"

A Timeline of Technology in Sport

GUEST POST: Joe Struggles is a freelance writer and Content Marketing Executive working on behalf of Farnell.

After enjoying a lengthy summer of sport, with the World Cup, Wimbledon, the Commonwealth Games and the imminent opening weekend of the English Premier League, it’s quite clear sport has come a long way since using jumpers for goalposts and shirts or skins for sides.

A somewhat of a sporting Svengali for progress came from France’s No. 10 Karim Benzema in Brazil, who broke Honduran hearts after aiding in the first-ever goal to be awarded at a major tournament using Goal-line Technology. Not only did this refuel the debate over whether technology is helping or hindering sport, but it raised questions over whether to blow the whistle on game gadgetry after taking it too far.

Taking a glance at cricket, particularly at when English rose Stuart Broad failed to walk after an apparent edge against the Aussies at the 2013 Ashes, there have been conflicting opinions on the reliability of Hot Spot, which, despite being implemented since 2006, was withdrawn from play after the tournament. Nowadays, the ever-reliant Hawk Eye backs the Snickometer at the crease, but for how long until another teammate walks?

On the defending team there are a string of sports where technology is seen as a saviour, such as the case of Hawk Eye in tennis – as we’re sure John McEnroe will probably agree. Wide-eyed empires, once subjected to endless scrutiny after making almost inhuman split-second decisions, were saved by accurate, indisputable results and the game still benefits today.

As with many aspects of sport, the introduction of newer, more advanced technologies must be tweaked, tuned and trained with trial and error. However with so many technologies being brought in and shipped out, this handy visualisation from http://uk.farnell.com/ is a great way of keeping on top of these technological transfers, including those with potential after some one-to-one management or those who should hang up their boots for the good of the game.


Posted in Guest Article, Sport, TechComments (0)

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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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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Could Chromecast be the Perfect Partner for UK Sport?

Guest Post: Ben Warren is a 1st class honours graduate in Sports Marketing from the University of Northampton with a keen interest in digital innovation within UK and US sport.

Having experienced excellent figures at launch in the UK last month, Google’s latest offering has formed a partnership with the BT Sport platform. If other companies followed suit, could this promote more freedom in the way fans consume sport?

The Google Chromecast is small device that slots into any UK television set via a HDMI port, and allows users to ‘beam’ content from any device, such as a tablet or PC, to their set-top box. According to Gigaom.com, U.K. electronics retailer Currys sold a Chromecast every 4.5 seconds on launch day, leading to comparisons with the launch of the iPad.

BT Sport have clearly shown faith in the product, and believe that this could open up new sectors in the marketplace. Pete Oliver, managing director of BT’s Consumer Commercial and Marketing, said,

“Chromecast has been a tremendous success in the US and we feel it could take off in the UK as well. We are already delivering BT Sport via our App and we are seeing some impressive viewing figures, which demonstrates that customers appreciate this option.

“Customers with Chromecast will be able to enjoy the BT Sport App, which is free with broadband from BT, on a large screen, allowing customers to cast a Barclays Premier League match to their TV, rather than watching on a smaller screen. This helps us to deliver on our aim to bring the best quality sport to BT customers at affordable prices across a wide number of platforms and devices.”

That is clearly a crucial factor here, and with an RRP of £30, it is clear Google are doing everything to make this a tool in everyone’s household.

The main excitement from the consumer perspective should come from increased freedom and accessibility. With Sport being such a lucrative package for television companies, tight restrictions are often in place with services such as Sky Go and Virgin Anywhere. These companies limit the number of devices you can watch on, and often only allow device changes at specified intervals.

If these companies were to get on board with Chromecast, they would have to find a balance. Imagine having a mobile phone, for example, and beaming live Premier League action to any TV in proximity of the phone. Whether it be a friend’s house or a hotel room, one could replicate the traditional entertainment set-up at the touch of a button.

If the past is anything to go by, BT Sport may be the only company willing to take a plunge into the Chromecast pool. Although the user would need a subscription to the service, they could argue it would be taken advantage of. If they decide to use the technology, however, the avenues to consume sport may just become that little bit wider.


bt sport

Posted in Broadcast, Sport, TechComments (0)

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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How Important is it for Sports Brands to be ‘Reactive’ on Social Media?

Guest Post: Krishan Majithia is a Social Media Executive at sports social media agency We Play. He is an FA level 2 qualified coach at Headstone Manor as well as being the brains behind ‘Tactical Sunder‘. Follow him at @krishm91

The age of social media has allowed brands to become closer to ‘real time’ conversations, giving them direct access to a world-wide consumer base. Real time Social Media sites such as Twitter allow brands to engage with fans and potential customers by joining in conversations about sport and reacting to events when they happen.

Of course, this access has cast forward the importance of hiring experts to manage social media activity, as mistakes can have immediate consequences, which become the subject of public humiliation and social media can quickly go from a brand’s most useful marketing tool, to its ultimate downfall.

The dynamism of social media and the vast number of platforms from which it can be accessed, means that fans and consumers expect more than basic advertising content from brands. The real-time nature of social media means that these brands can communicate and share innovative messages (at the click of a button) within relevant ‘hype-circles’.

When a technical error meant that only four Olympic rings showed up during the opening ceremony of the Sochi Olympics, an advert supposedly from Audi emerged with the tagline “When four rings is all you need”. As it turned out the advert, which can be seen below was not real, however, this was the epitome of ‘reactive advertising’ and was shared 1000′s of times with calls by Audi fans for it to be made into an official Audi advert.


Another slightly different example was after Andy Murray won the ‘Sports Personality of the Year Award’ in December, his sponsors- Adidas- took the opportunity to poke fun at the Tennis superstar, using the combined hype of the award trending on Twitter, with a bold, yet tongue-in-cheek tweet to advertise the adidas brand, stating that his achievement was “Not bad for a man with no personality”.


This was likely not strictly reactive, but was created weeks before the award on the chance of the Scotsman won. However, it was released at an opportune time, providing a humorous alternative to the saturated messages of congratulations that were lost amongst the trending topic on Twitter, something that is key to implementing reactive adverts.

This idea of using humour is one of the most popular uses of reactive marketing and provides a key platform for making your brand’s message stand out. Arguably, such a policy is even more useful when used off the back of a seemingly negative event, such as Oreo’s ‘Dunk in the Dark’ tweet after the blackout in last years Superbowl, or Specsavers clever connection between the North and South Korean flags being mixed up during the Olympics, and their “Should have gone to Specsavers” slogan.

It is often consumer goods brands, such as the two above that use sporting events as a catalyst to launch reactive advertising, so why should it not be the same for sports brands?

Dunk in the dark

What can be learnt? 

Sports is arguably one of the toughest industries within which to operate, due to the high level of brand loyalty. This is especially true for sports clubs, who may take the approach of stronger engagement with fans, rather than traditional advertising techniques. After all, somebody is not going to simply change the sports team they support, just because of an impressive marketing campaign.

However, even sports clubs can use a form of reactive advertising. Last week, Everton were the talk of social media after inviting Malaysian fan, Ric Wee (who had come to watch the Toffees for the first time) to meet the players and coaching staff after their match against Crystal Palace was called off. The story went viral, with fans of all teams congratulating the club for showing their human side.

There is of course a lot that all football clubs do behind the scenes that does not necessarily gain the same notoriety, so what made this particular story go viral? Fans saw this story unfolding in real time and the club reacted within minutes to find Mr. Wee. It was spur of the moment, and that made it special. This will not only bring the existing fans closer to the club, but from a business point of view, could also help to attract both new fans in emerging countries, as well as sponsorship opportunities from companies who see the club trending on social media.

The key for sports brands utilising reactive advertising is to be aware of what is going on in the world. Whilst it is important to have a pro-active rather than reactive strategy for every day social media engagement, brands should not allow themselves to switch off and miss the opportunity to strike advertising gold when something out of the ordinary occurs.


Posted in Brands, Social Media, SportComments (3)

CIPR Excellence Awards 2014 – Best Sporting Campaign

I’m delighted to reveal that UKSN is this year a supporter of the leading awards for the PR/Comms industry.  The CIPR Excellence Awards are the leading public relations awards, shining the spotlight on the achievements of teams, agencies and individuals across all sectors.  

Amongst the 29 award categories available is the Best Sporting Campaign, which demonstrates the best use of public relations to promote a live sporting activity, sporting event, brand or an individual involved in live sport, from conception to execution. Last year’s winner was Channel 4/Pitch PR for The London 2012 Paralympic Games on Channel 4.

Other categories of interest will be for the ‘Best Use of Digital’ and ‘Best Use of Social Media’.  Last year’s winners of the social media category were Torfaen County Borough Council.

Finalists will be invited to attend panel interviews with our judging team, before winners are chosen and announced at the annual Excellence Awards Dinner in London.  Entries are still open, so if you think you’re campaign should be up for an award then click on the link below for more information.

Find out more and enter online  


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Premier Sponsor of European Handball launches world’s first Interactive Advertising Campaign

JACK & JONES launched the world’s first interactive advertising last weekend, at the VELUX European Handball Champions League. Partnering with Kwangl.com, the men’s fashion brand gave away 800euros worth of vouchers to participants, in return for a Tweeted hashtag.

Sports fans watching the matches this weekend were encouraged to pre-register at Kwangl.com.  During the match they could tweet a hashtag, that was revealed on the JACK & JONES LCD perimeter advertising, for the chance to win a prize.  Over the course of the weekend, eight winners were revealed and each won a €100 voucher.

JACK & JONES has been a sponsor of Europe’s top men’s handball’s competitions since 2009-10, and is one of two premium sponsors of the Champions League, the other being Japanese electronics giant Sharp, below title sponsor Velux, the Danish building products group.  The fashion brand will still activate its sponsorship via social media campaigns, promotions in stores and on-site fan activities while the mopping crews at Champions League games will continue to sport its logo.


The EHF has been trialling the use of Kwangl, which has also run similar competitions for MODO Hockey, the Swedish Premier League ice hockey team, as part of efforts to ensure greater engagement between sports fans and advertisers.  Kwangl claims that its software will enable sports organisations to offer better value to their sponsors by giving them a platform to connect with viewers during games and assess the success of their campaigns.

“We felt over the last few years that in the sports market there was more budget being spent on mobile and digital advertising but during the actual match there was nothing to allow people to interact with what was on television.  With this system you can engage with fans as they are watching the game, sending out activation codes and rewards.” – Matt Edgley, MD of Kwangl.

Overall, it’s a good idea – directly pushing users towards the brand in an interactive way means the consumer is exposed to the brand, and engaging with it, in an inadvertent way.  It could possibly have been executed more effectively, however.

A strong in-game image (not grabbed from TV) would have made this clearer.  The pre-registering on Kwangl.com adds in a barrier to entry that is likely to have significantly reduced the entry numbers.  This is always the decision that needs to be made, low barrier to entry but little/no data collection or collect key data but accept lower entry numbers.  For this activation, CRM is obviously high on the agenda and the ability of Kwangl to deliver up to 50,000 prizes a minute was also another factor.

Also, instead of the tweeting of a hashtag to enter, an alternative mechanic that could have proved a bit more effective would be a password that was revealed in-game to be tweeted in conjunction with a hashtag.  This would allow a hashtag to be promoted pre-game to generate conversation around the activation, and instruct users how to participate during the game.

Regardless, interactive advertising is an open idea to all brands with access to dual-screening viewers.  Social media makes this possible in an instant, and it’s almost a surprise to see that other brands haven’t experimented with this already.

Do you think that interactive advertising could become a mainstay in brand promotion?  Which other brands could directly benefit? Does it bring fans closer to sport or not?

jack jones



Posted in Brands, Sport, TwitterComments (0)

Follow all the action from Sochi on the new Team GB LIVE Dashboard

As the action at the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi gets underway, Team GB is excited to launch its brand new interactive platform, Team GB LIVE, which will help you stay up to date during Sochi 2014 with live results, event guides, competition schedules, venue information and athlete profiles.

The Team GB LIVE dashboard is now up and running at live.teamgb.com/ and puts Sochi 2014 into the hands of fans, providing them with a truly customized Olympic experience, available on both desktops and mobile devices.

Plan your whole Olympics with the fully interactive event schedule, keep in the know about when Team GB athletes will be competing and discover who to watch. You can even go back and retrieve results from previous Olympic Winter Games.

Visitors to Team GB LIVE will also be able to access videos, medal tables and up to date athlete blogs from Sochi. They’ll also be able to browse the Team GB online shop, where you can get behind the athletes and show your support with the official Team GB range of apparel and merchandise.

“With the evolution of sport viewing habits, Team GB LIVE is a platform where you can build your own personal Olympic experience and follow just the things you like”, commented Team GB’s Digital Media Manager Joe Morgan.

“We’re really pleased that we can bring fans and supporters everything they need for Sochi in one place. Team GB LIVE will help them to keep up to date and fully informed on their favourite sports, athletes and events throughout, making sure they don’t miss a moment.”

Team GB LIVE is accessible through live.teamgb.com




Posted in Digital, Sport, TechComments (0)

#Digisport Job: Community Manager @ Synergy Sponsorship

London based agency Synergy Sponsorship are looking for a Community Manager with a passion for creating social content strategy & ideas on behalf of brands.  Particular experience across Facebook and Twitter as well as other social platforms is required.

The role will work across a range of accounts and will suit someone who enjoys working in a dynamic and progressive environment. They should have a passion for sport as all communities involved will be sport based, at least in the short term.  This role reports directly into their Head of Digital.

To apply for this role or to find out more email christian.baker@synergy-sponsorship.com


Experience required:

The successful candidate must demonstrate:

  • At least 2 years’ experience of community management
  • The ability to come up with compelling content ideas.
  • Passionate about sport and entertainment
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills
  • Enthusiastic and dynamic
  • Curious about what makes people tick
  • Ability to prioritise and manage multiple projects
  • Passionate about consumer trends and insights
  • A natural interest in social media
  • An inquisitive, perfectionist and numeric mind-set
  • Business savvy and able to work in a fast-paced client facing environment
  • Good level of understanding of Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint and Word.
  • Strong Photoshop and video editing skills would be highly advantageous
  • Ideally some experience of using community management tools and/or software
  • Excellent presentation skills
  • Flexible and proactive with the ability to react quickly when the need arises
  • Experience in sponsorship social media would be advantageous but not essential


  • Managing client social media communities and creating engaging copy and content (with support of design team) and interesting ways to get people talking about brands
  • Managing client relationships and communications
  • Manage multiple communities
  • Creating tone of voice documents and detailed moderation guidelines
  • Working with account teams to create engaging strategies
  • Contributing to the creative process of developing topical content relevant for all managed communities
  • Undertaking research through a variety of different tools and systems in order to deliver a compelling community insight, monitor social performance of content or provide the basis for Client reports on their community.
  • Undertaking research into competitor communities
  • Training, quality checking and managing outbound work
  • Representing Synergy and its clients in a professional manner at all times


Posted in Jobs, Social Media, SportComments (0)


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