Matúš, Gilles, and Vincenzo, the MIE squad, are passionate about football. They have been in love with football since their early childhood and have been actively following the sport ever since.
Thanks to their passion, curiosity, and proactive involvement in the football industry, they were able to identify major pains and gains of the stakeholders. The main problem they have recognized in the industry is the ineffective use of technologies and the misinterpretation of data by football clubs, which results in the inability to innovate and satisfy the ever-changing needs of football fans.
The world we live in is getting quicker by the second and global businesses need to stay flexible and adjust their business offerings. Football clubs with their growing global fan base are not to be excluded. They should be able to identify the needs and wants of their diverse fan portfolio. Fans are nowadays more demanding and are not satisfied with general offerings. They expect to see a show and get one of a kind experience when following their football club. They want to be understood, valued, and served 24/7. However, football clubs seem to have fallen behind in realizing this change in regard to facilitating communication towards their fans. Just look at how other industries/businesses fight to get their customers’ loyalty by both traditional marketing and e-tools. Most of the large brands have a modern website, strong social media presence, and a well-developed mobile application. But what is happening with the applications that are launched by football clubs? 71% of fans do not use them because they don’t see a reason to do so. The fans believe that their club should put more effort into connecting with them. Fascinating, isn’t it? The major FCs’ stakeholders are deeply unsatisfied with what they get: the content is boring, there is no personal approach, and fan connection possibilities are poor or absent.
So what is to be done?
Matúš, Gilles and Vincenzo formed a team F.C. Innovation back in September and their ultimate goal is to constantly innovate, upgrade, and push the football business industry forward. To address this goal they developed an innovative Fan Experience Platform, which connects clubs with fans, bringing them closer together. This in effect, will drive fan base loyalty and satisfaction thanks to one of a kind fan experience. Using their platform, clubs are able to control the fan experience, quantify/measure fan engagement, and generate more revenues, both directly and indirectly. The platform provides a fully intuitive, personalized and interactive experience for the global fan base.
New dimension of fan experience:
By using their app, you will not just be a customer. You will become an ambassador of your football club. By sharing your location, posts, or pictures at a stadium for example, you can receive a discount. That’s right, you can get money by being loyal to your club and later on you can make a purchase with this money. You will generate your income through involvement.
F.C. Innovation discovered that:
- 69% of football fans want more possibilities to connect with other fans online, and 42% – offline;
- 77% would connect with other fans abroad;
- 57% is not happy with general stadium convenience.
What are the features?
- iBeacon technology
- Cashless payment
- In-App coupons from sponsors and partners
- Fanshop integration
- Catering order system
- Fan community
- Social media plugins
How does it work?
- Through the application you get to know new people and you find new friends. And when you have found them, you can find people to go see a game with. Check match-updates, vote on line-up, engage in pre-game discussions.
- The GPS will get you all the info about the traffic on your way to the place, the parking and will navigate you to your place in the stadium. Itinerary, traffic info, overview of parking space, stadium map; access to stadium with in-app ticket, welcoming and guidance to seat.
- Through this app you can order catering and pick it quickly during the break without having to endure the queues to a sandwich bar.
- You will discover your friends who are at the same place as you are and bid live on unique memorabilia (match-worn jerseys) during game.
- IMPORTANT: you can check the availability of restrooms at the stadium.
- After the game is over you can continue discussions with your friends and form new connections.
- You can win and order t-shirts and other merchandises through the app.
Let’s see what it will look like:
This is not just a useful application. It’s a brand new social network, and you can connect your other accounts (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter…) to this one. You will also have your timeline, news, check-ins and will be able to create groups and conversations. The purpose of the application is to help football clubs in terms of promotion, but MOSTLY – to build better emotional connections between clubs and their fans as well as develop the community amongst the fans themselves.
During their trip to Milan, the project team met with two major football clubs and pitched their project. The reactions were very positive and they are now in close contact with the clubs. For now, their ambition is to realize their project at one club and are hoping to scale up in the future. They feel that the biggest challenge now lays in strong networking and the ability to close the deal with one strong partner in the near future.
– Co-written with: Matúš Parízek, Vincenzo Sannipoli and Gilles De Clerck