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German footballing star Thomas Muller in action for Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich
At the weekend, many matches attracted headlines for what happened on field.
Ole Gunnar Solksjaer and Manchester United stunned the reigning champions of England in their own backyard, perhaps alleviating the pressure on the 1999 Champions League Final hero.
Celtic defeated Rangers in a fierce Old Firm derby final despite Steven Gerrard’s side dominating the game and playing with one extra man for most of the second half.
Finally, we saw Juventus slip up again in the Serie A. Lazio stunned ‘La Donna Vecchia’ in a 3-1 win at the Stadio Olimpico, concurrently opening up the title race.
But perhaps some of the most interesting news for football fans, especially those who stream 99% of the games they watch was that the first vertically-streamed game of football took place in the Bundesliga.
Werder Bremen gained a valuable three points with a 3-2 win against VFL Wolfsburg. But the news of the DFL’s trial stream comes as very fascinating, given the situation streaming is currently in.
Amazon Prime recently streamed a full round of Premier League action for the first time, which will hopefully become a constant for fans everywhere. As we know oh so well here in Australia, Optus is the major service provider for games in the Premier League, Champions League and the Europa League.
But vertical streaming will allow many fans a different perspective on the game. Many can watch games horizontally through their mobile devices. But this concept is uncharted territory. So far.
Andreas Heyden, Executive President of the DFL for digital innovations, said that the growing rate of vertical videos on social media sites led to the development of a vertical streaming service for games.
“We see that vertical videos in social media on mobile devices are better received than ones in horizontal orientation. The successful test in Wolfsburg provides us with a good basis for further considerations as to how we can do even better justice to this usage behaviour in the future.”
Watching football from a horizontal perspective is something we often take for granted when watching a game. Not that it’s a privilege, more so that it’s the way we’ve always viewed the sport, either live or otherwise.
Traditionalists may perhaps believe that this is a step too far and that the current methods are more than adequate and don’t require changing. But vertical viewing is an interesting proposition and as football fans, we’d be remiss to not see what it has to offer.
The DFL will conduct its own review of the stream before deciding to open it up to all of us, but in the name of being progressive, it’s hard to see them not giving it a shot at the very least.
What are your thoughts on this innovative way of watching soccer from the comfort of your own couch? Or even bed, in this instance? Get involved in the discussion on Twitter @Soccersceneau
Topping the list is legendary football coach Arsene Wenger who will present at the online conference alongside other notable speakers such as Mile Jedinak, Graham Arnold and Julie Foudy.
The event will be run by Football NSW, in conjunction with the FFA, Football Coaches Australia and a number of other Member Federations including Football Victoria, Football West, Northern NSW Football and Football South Australia.
Well-known football personalities Stephanie Brantz and Adam Peacock will co-host the conference this weekend.
“It is extremely pleasing to see that this conference has received such a positive response and that we will be going out to more than 1800 participants across the state, throughout the country and indeed around the world,” Football NSW Head of Football, Peter Hugg stated.
“More significantly, it is great that we have been able to explore various technology platforms that have come to the fore during the COVID19 pandemic, and introduce both online learning and a means by which we can upload content, both now for this weekend, but also for future reference over the next 12 months or so – I can only envisage that this will increase as we develop this concept more and more.
“I think the success of this weekend’s Conference demonstrates a certain ‘build it and they will come’ approach. That is, we have been fortunate to have some of the best football people in Australia and throughout the world present across a range of relevant key areas, and as we have packaged and priced the day accordingly, pleasingly the coaching fraternity have responded.”
Hugg explained that with the calibre of names on show, the conference is set to be a must-see event.
“To think that we have names like Arsene Wenger, two former world champions in former US players, Julie Foudy and Brandi Chastain, national team coaches Graham Arnold and Tom Sermanni, former Socceroos captain Mile Jedinak, Matildas Heather Garriock and Lisa DeVanna, Xavier Closas from the FC Barcelona Futsal program, representatives from FIFA’s Technical Department, and many more…it’s just a quality line up and augers well for a great day.”
A host of British football clubs have adopted Urban Zoo’s Gamechanger platform which has become a revolution in fan engagement and monetisation.
In a critical time for the sports industry, technology company Urban Zoo has transformed the performance of digital platforms for UK clubs such as Aston Villa, Sheffield United, Fulham, Stoke City, Everton, Middlesbrough, Wigan Athletic and even Scottish powerhouse Celtic.
Chris Grannell and Rob Moore are the pioneers behind the Warrington-based technology company and has become a revolution for British football.
“We provide the ability to integrate clubs’ apps, web sites, streaming services and retail platforms via a single sign-on (SSO),” Grannell said.
“Clubs get a single fan view, helping them better understand their behaviour and allowing them to tailor bespoke offers. Even though the system behind it is a ‘bespoke platform’ we can craft a unique user interface that makes every site individual to its host club.”
Fulham FC wanted to review its brand and subsequently turned to Gamechanger to help present the club’s unique identity more strongly online after a detailed competitor audit.
“We now have SSO in place across the club’s main website, ticketing, retail and TV online properties, and will roll that out to a new club app shortly,” Fulham’s head of marketing Jack Burrows said.
“Few clubs currently have this full breadth of functionality, and since launching the new website in September this year the overall feedback has been extremely positive.”
The combination of managing content and maximising potential revenue opportunities online has been just as important as stronger fan experience.
“Our previous system was falling down, and the website behind where we wanted to be positioned as a club,” Burrows said.
“It was incredibly difficult to modernise user journeys and unlock online potential across content consumption and engagement, as well as commercial and e-commerce opportunities.
“Gamechanger has allowed our commercial team to monetise new digital assets, and by enhancing site functionality across desktop and mobile, simplifying the front-end navigation and working with a strengthened back end system, Gamechanger is continuing to allow us to innovate more and drive forward digitally.”
More fans now want to engage with clubs’ digital assets given it’s easier, more intuitive and more enjoyable to do so.
“Our multi-platform traffic is up by more than 200 per cent,” Aston Villa’s digital product manager, Ben Startin said.
“We’re a big club and when we made announcements such as player signings we’d get huge spikes in web use but our legacy system would fall over.
“It was driving fans off-line and got so bad they were developing memes mocking our web performance. That’s completely reversed now and whilst the spikes in usage remain huge, Gamechanger can handle all the traffic thrown at it.”
“The whole platform is so easy use. We had just one training session for the team and they’ve been able to make the system fly from the off.
“There’s no way that an enterprise software platform could have delivered all this in just four months.”
All clubs agree that Urban Zoo’s approach to client management has been extremely beneficial.
“They don’t hide behind account managers and flannel: you get talk to the techies direct and they’re a constant source of great ideas.
“When Jonty Castle (now CEO at AFC Fylde) brought them he said they ‘got it’ and he was right. Some of our most enjoyable brainstorming sessions have been with their team.”
Startin from Aston Villa has also been impressed with Urban Zoo’s passion towards transforming football clubs.
“You can see Urban Zoo’s football pedigree from the way Gamechanger has been designed, but also in their proactivity,” he said.
“They work on a fixed licence-fee model, which makes working with them much more budgetable. It’s a very transparent and commercial approach which helps avoid nasty surprises.”
For Matt Gamble at Everton, they have been able to use Gamechanger to accelerate the performance of the Toffees’ newly-launched app.
“Our focus is on massively increasing the regularity of fans’ usage,” he said.
“The platform has allowed us to completely revamp the push notification system, letting fans tailor what notifications they want to receive.
“We can also now create mobile- specific experiences such as competitions or games exclusively for the app and it offers much better integration with our video provider.
“We can now deliver live video or audio, providing another reason for fans to keep visiting.”
Chris Grannell and fellow director Rob Moore at Urban Zoo have built a platform that has already delivered positive outcomes for many UK-based football clubs. Deeper integration and knowledge of fan’s needs will be delved deeper with a new Sports CRM proposition to integrate seamlessly with Gamechanger.
“With easy and intuitive interrogation it will provide clubs with all the behavioural analysis, segmentation and loyalty tracking they could ever need,” Grannell said.
“It will mean another step up in how they communicate with fans. We’re taking direct marketing to another level and it is British football leading the way.”
Another big leap forward will come by seeking an improvement on personalisation for fans.
“We’re now working on a big change in ensuring that each fan engagement feels instantly bespoke, at point of sign-in,” Moore said.
“Fans want to be presented with what they are interested in. They want to be recognised as the type of fan they are, with a user experience personalised to their preferences.
“It’ll have a huge impact on generating additional spend and user satisfaction.”
You can find out more about Urban Zoo and Gamechanger here.
The La Liga Business School and the University of Canberra will sign of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) this week to work on educational projects together.
The collaboration agreement is being finalised and will focus on the formation and education of professional football.
La Liga and the University of Canberra said that they aim to use their knowledge and networks to “help to improve the professionalism of professional sport and football.”
An online seminar this Thursday will be the first event held by La Liga and the University of Canberra under the collaboration agreement.
La Liga’s delegate in Australia and New Zealand, Glen Rolls, will be speaking at the webinar alongside Capital Football CEO Phil Brown and Villarreal C.F Business Development Manager Mar Llaneza.
‘Beyond 2020: Professional Football Strategy – A discussion with La Liga’ will be hosted and moderated by University of Canberra Academic and former FIFA Assistant Referee Allyson Flynn.
The representatives will discuss strategy, business expansion, international development and commercial risks for sporting organisations. The presentations will be followed by a Q&A session.
“We are very happy to have the opportunity to share the La Liga’s experience in Australia,” Director of La Liga Business School Jose Moya said.
“This agreement reaffirms the commitment of our organization to professionalise the sports sector and, in line with our slogan, ‘it’s not football, it’s La Liga,’ this positions us at the forefront of the industry, not only in terms of sports but also in educational standards.”
The La Liga Business School is the educational department of the Spanish league, it focuses on sport management and aims to professionalise the sports industry.
“The University of Canberra is a leader in Australian sport education and research,” University of Canberra’s, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health, Michelle Lincoln said.
“We are very excited to further our commitment to sport through collaborations with La Liga on this webinar and future events.”
‘Beyond 2020: Professional Football Strategy – A discussion with La Liga’ takes place on Thursday 26th November at 6pm. Registrations for the event are open via the University of Canberra website.