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Infront X creates the ideal fan experience for leading clubs 

With popular football clubs among their extensive client list, Infront X presents as the perfect partner for anyone in the sports industry looking to improve their fan experience. 

Infront X is a digital media company focused on the link between data science and technology and how this can create more personal experiences for users  growing audiences for content owners, bridging the gap between storytelling and technology and creating digital platforms and experiences to help global brands engage with audiences and monetise their investments. 

Infront X works with many of the biggest names in sports, media, entertainment, and gaming, tailoring to meet their interests using data-driven insights to cater to audience passions and empower businesses to make millions of lasting impressions.  

Infront X has established themselves across the world with offices across North America, Europe, and Asia, where they have had a massive impact in helping elite organisations like the PGA TOUR, Verizon, NASCAR, FOX, Chelsea FC, AS Roma, the International Ski Federation, and the International Basketball Federation, as well as many others. 

Forming part of Infront X’s expertise is the way they have delivered fan experience for sporting organisations. One of their leading projects has been with 2020-21 UEFA Champions League winners, Chelsea FC. 

Launched in 2018, The 5th Stand App connects a global fanbase to their club and community. 

During a long-term partnership, Infront X has worked closely with Chelsea’s digital team to create and implement a data-driven digital product strategy, which brings the very best features together on The 5th Stand. The app is designed to let Chelsea’s global fanbase interact with each other and support the club, even when they cannot be in one of the four stands at Stamford Bridge, particularly key to capturing an international audience. 

The collaboration between Infront X and Chelsea both parties to develop and deliver an innovative digital strategy that focuses on deep fan engagement for a truly interactive interface. Since From the time The 5th Stand was released, it has been downloaded over 6.7 million times, making it the fastest growing football app in the world. A recent survey by Chelsea saw 92% of all fans recognise the importance of having The 5th Stand app. 

Moving across to Italy, Infront X and AS Roma FC form another partnership that is in amongst a multi-year deal. Regarded as one of the most successful clubs in Serie A, Infront X saw another perfect opportunity to help a club that has an incredibly passionate global fanbase.

Ordinally, AS Roma were able to relaunch their flagship website in 2018 thanks to Corebine, powered by Omnigon, in conjunction with Infront X. The introduction of the digital media company to AS Roma’s business strategy and planning identified the needs and requirements for the club, through insights gleaned that saw new monetisation opportunities and holistic recommendations to take the digital experience to the next level. 

Infront X were then able to develop and launch mobile apps to cater for the global community, alongside a revamped and responsive website that comes with a host of different languages. A verstaile platform gives AS Roma fans everything they need with in-match and player statistics, as well as enhanced video capabilities. 

Sporting leagues themselves can even get in on the action, as evidenced with the features that Infront X helped the Scottish Professional League (SPFL) with. 

The SPFL were seeking new ways to keep their fans engaged in a time where the league was postponed due to the Covid-19 outbreak. 

When league games were cancelled, Infront X found a way to fill a content gap by using a voting system to reach fans and create those interactions. Each week, they had the chance to vote for which archived match would be streamed each week. 

Eventually when matches resumed, a poll allowed fans to vote on ‘Team of the Season’ content and a variety of other campaigns ensured that fan engagement would always remain at a high. 

To see everything that Infront X has to offer across a range of industries, you can find it here. 

Liam Watson is a Senior Journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on international football policy, industry matters and industry 4.0

La Liga becomes first major league to sign a significant NFT partnership: Will other competitions follow?

La Liga has become the first major league to sign a major non-fungible token (NFT) partnership, in what has created a significant new revenue stream for the competition.

The Spanish competition has struck a deal with Sorare, a fantasy football platform, and in turn will launch NFT’s for all of the league’s players.

Sorare is a marketplace to trade digital cards from more than 180 football clubs, with over 500,000 users signed up on the platform.

Through this partnership La Liga fans, collectors and fantasy football players will be able to freely trade and play with digital cards of players from the league.

Sorare has strong ambitions for the future after securing their agreement with La Liga, with the company planning to partner with all of the world’s top 20 football leagues by the end of next year.

The deal with La Liga covers both the first and second divisions in Spain and highlights the global interest in the ever-growing NFT card space, which has garnered close to $130 million in card sales this year.

Javier Tebas, President of La Liga, explained further about their partnership with Sorare to the La Liga Newsletter: “At La Liga we are always looking for innovative ways to offer our fans new and exciting experiences and to broaden the appeal of our competition, the greatest in the world. This partnership with Sorare, the most exciting sports NFT projects today, enables us to reach new audiences globally and gives existing fans additional ways they can get involved with the players and the clubs they love.”

Nicolas Julia, CEO and co-founder of Sorare told the La Liga Newsletter: “NFTs are the future of gIobaI sports fandom because they allow fans to come together and to feel ownership of the sports they love. This partnership isn’t just a sign of Sorare’s growing leadership in the NFT sports space, it is a major signal of intent by the sporting world that it sees Sorare’s unique ability to connect fans with sports through NFTs as a crucial part of their plans for the future.”

“La Liga is one of the best leagues in the world, home to some of the most exciting clubs and footballers on earth. We are very proud that they have become our first ever league partnership, and we are looking forward to working together in the years ahead,” Julia added.

Sorare cards are NFTs, which means each of those cards are unique, scarce and its ownership able to be publicly verifiable via the blockchain. The company’s combination of NFT technology with sports cards and a fantasy game is the leading next-gen offering within the world game. Through the collecting, owning and trading of these rare digital collectibles, Sorare has created an experience where users can own their game, build connections in the real world and control their assets in a secure, safe place.

The next generation gaming experience will help La Liga and its teams expand their international brands, reaching fans and new types of audiences, including crypto-enthusiasts across the US and Asia.

This partnership means Sorare now has the majority of the top 100 football clubs in the world under license, including powerhouses such as Liverpool FC, Paris Saint-Germain FC and Juventus FC.

Despite these individual clubs signing up, the other 4 major leagues have not entered a NFT partnership.

With a new digital football hub set to be implemented by the Australian Professional Leagues (APL) in the coming months, gaming competitions such as fantasy football, are most likely set to return for fans of the A-Leagues.

A partnership with a platform such as Sorare, will be extremely beneficial for the local professional game.

Utilising NFT trading cards for A-League football players across fantasy football will be unique and fit in with their ongoing plans for digital innovation across the domestic competitions.

Alongside this, it is a revenue stream for the APL which looks to connect the younger generation to the game and reap similar rewards to what has previously been implemented across the E-League.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SkillCorner: Connecting video and event data analytics like never before

SkillCorner have revolutionised the football industry’s approach to data analytics in a world-leading and exciting fashion.

SkillCorner have revolutionised the football industry’s approach to data analytics in a world-leading and exciting fashion.

Established by then-university graduate in Applied Mathematics and Data Science Hugo Bordigoni and business executive Charles Montmaneix in 2015, SkillCorner extracts physical tracking data from broadcast footage and generates live match visualizations as a result.

By pairing AI data collection with broadcasting, SkillCorner allows fans to see real-time stats gathered from broadcast footage. Metrics such as Sprint Count, Acceleration and Deceleration Count, High-Speed Running Distance and Total Distance are measured via a combination of computer vision and machine learning technology that aids in multi-object tracking over the course of a match.

SkillCorner has since filled a gap in a sporting landscape which had not yet embraced artificial intelligence and had stuck largely to a manual process of collecting data.

In addition, SkillCorner has developed into one of the strongest tools for clubs in their approach to player recruitment. With an access to both a growing database of football tracking data and tracking data on matches that is received instantly, SkillCorner have proven to be a major advantage for some of the world’s biggest clubs.

Whilst SkillCorner’s early days saw their analytics acquired mostly by sportsbooks, their platform came to the attention of Liverpool’s head of research, Ian Graham, in what was a landmark moment for the data analysis tool.

At the time, Liverpool already had access to excellent tracking data for all English Premier League matches – first through ChyronHego and now with Second Spectrum – but it didn’t have anything comparable when considering moves in the transfer market.

In an interview last year with SportTechie, Bordigoni reflected on the manner in which SkillCorner filled a gap in Liverpool’s approach to the transfer market.

“When we started discussing with Liverpool, it was not the plan to go into the performance business. But Liverpool reached us and said, ‘If you’re able to do it for the betting, it means you don’t have some cameras inside [the venue], you’re doing it from the broadcast and it interests us for player recruitment,” he said.

“When they want to scout players playing Bundesliga in French Ligue 1 or in La Liga, they cannot access the tracking data.”

Liverpool’s business last year saw the then reigning English Premier League champions spend $14 million for left-back Konstantinos Tsimikas, $24 million to acquire central midfielder Thiago Alcantara and $49 million for forward Diogo Jota.

Of its three new players, Liverpool had access to rich tracking data for only Jota, who competed in the same league. SkillCorner compiled data from 23 leagues for last year’s summer transfer window and expects to provide coverage of roughly 40 in the near future.

Jota

Liverpool and SkillCorner collaborated for a year to hone the accuracy of the algorithm before agreeing to a partnership.

Word then spread across Europe – prompting more inquiries – and since then SkillCorner has begun working with new clubs in the Premier League, Italy’s Serie A, Germany’s Bundesliga (including 1.FC Köln and Bayer Leverkusen) and France’s Ligue 1 (including Olympique de Marseille and OGC Nice).

For SkillCorner, event and tracking data are critical to unlocking football performance and engaging with fans. But until now, tracking data has been expensive to collect, time intensive, and not available across different leagues and competitions.

SkillCorner is changing that by providing clubs, betting operators, and media access to exclusive player and ball tracking data without the usual restrictions.

Their fully automated system allows users to access dynamic and contextualised insights that can power a club’s recruitment process or deliver unique new insights to fans. Their Live Match Visualisation is an impressive alternative to live match streaming, with turnkey animation and immediate integration ensuring broadcasts are experienced to their full capacity.

SkillCorner’s recent growth has seen partnerships unfold that will further enhance the options available to football fans and the football industry.

A recently announced partnership with Twenty3 – creator of AI sports data tool Twenty3 Toolbox – will see physical data collected by SkillCorner added to the Toolbox. Twenty3 recently revealed a new partnership with MLS club Sporting Kansas City, giving the club access to Twenty3’s set of AI tools which now include SkillCorner player tracking.

SkillCorner are illustrative of the changing of the guard in the approach to data analytics. Whilst football has embraced data collection as a necessary facet of player, coaching and overall team improvement over time, SkillCorner have established an alternative forward-thinking method that is adaptable to its multitude of user types.

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