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MatchDay Digital – the alternative for NPL clubs

In a time where fans are not guaranteed to be able to attend games due to COVID-19, MatchDay Digital makes programmes accessible to everyone.

In a time where fans are not guaranteed to be able to attend games due to COVID-19, MatchDay Digital presents as a beneficial way to make programmes accessible to everyone.

MatchDay Digital is the world’s first, football-focussed digital magazine platform that sees premium content made available for everyone no matter where they are, including matchday programmes, popular football magazines, newspapers and high-quality fanzines. Fans will then have access to digital versions of content that may have otherwise been print-only.

Available on Apple iOS with Android and Desktop to follow soon, MatchDay Digital brings all quality football content to the app and sees the development of programmes for football clubs.

By having all football content in the one place, it reaches a bigger audience where fans may find a hidden gem they might not have seen before. MatchDay Digital uses the Intelligent Content Engine (IP) to match material uploaded by clubs, leagues and countries that fans follow on the app, which significantly increases the visibility and reach of each publication that in turn enhances the fan experience.

MatchDay Digital is a free-to-use platform given they work on a revenue share based on the volume sold and a further reinvestment into marketing with each partner. Their strong technology roadmap will allow for more interactivity, dynamic content and translations as they look to extend their reach globally.

English League One side AFC Wimbledon are part of MatchDay Digital’s clients, featuring English Premier League teams Burnley and Crystal Palace, as well as Championship clubs Brentford FC, Norwich City, Nottingham Forest and Watford where digital content is provided.

AFC Wimbledon’s partnership began from the opening day of this season where fans could download the matchday programme for the game against Plymouth Argyle, even without being allowed to attend.

AFC WImbledon CEO Joe Palmer sees this as a step ahead of the curve when factoring in the potential of further reach within the app.

“AFC Wimbledon is a forward-thinking club. We are embracing the future and our new stadium shows that. We’ve not skimped on technology in any way,” Palmer said to FC Business.

“We have to future proof and think ahead as to how fans’ behaviour will change, and digital content is just part of that. We’re not the biggest club, but that doesn’t mean we can’t think like one.

“Digital magazines have been teetering on the edge of full existence for a while now. A lot of people have been talking about them, but it made sense for us to take this step now.

“There’s plenty of research that now shows mobile phone use in stadiums is massive. Practically, people don’t want to hold a physical magazine.

“Digital is a much more cost-effective and time-effective way of operating and clubs need to challenge more fans to move to digital we move into the future, because it’s better for us as businesses, and it’s better for fans as consumers.

“Modern-day football clubs can encourage that change for the good of the fans, and the good of the club.”

In today’s current climate, where the production of printed magazines and distribution would be tricky amid the challenges of COVID-19, the idea of going digital has an even stronger case and big appeal to any football clubs yet to make the switch.

“We knew that fans would only occasionally buy matchday programmes when physically attending football games,” MatchDay Digital founder & CEO Damian Woodward explains.

“Through our research we found out that if it was more convenient, easy to access and offered better value, more fans would purchase programmes. Over 50% of match-goers and 25% of fans watching on TV or through subscription services would be interested in buying a digital programme if it were available to them.

“For clubs, we could see that they were spending time and money on producing, printing and distributing a high-quality publication for each home game, but that the audience for this was so limited.

“You’re only speaking to the people who are attending the game, but if you speak to every club in the country, they’d tell you that their fanbase is much, much bigger than just the people who are able to get to the ground on Saturdays.

“MatchDay Digital allows clubs to access their audience wherever they are. That means greater revenue from increased sales, a better connection to the fanbase and unlimited exposure that can be sold on to sponsors. It’s a no-brainer, for no extra cost.”

You can find more on MatchDay Digital here, where you can get in touch by filling in a contact form.

Liam Watson is the Managing Editor at Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy, industry matters and technology.

Manchester United gives update on Old Trafford plans

Manchester United has updated fans on modernising Old Trafford, with an assurance that they will be regularly consulted with the progress.

Manchester United has provided an update to fans on plans to modernise Old Trafford, with an assurance that fans will be regularly consulted with the progress.

Old Trafford is the largest club football stadium in the UK, with a capacity of 73,000 and one of the most iconic venues in world football with 111 years of history as United’s home ground.

Initial meetings have been taking place with multiple architectural and engineering companies in order to choose a potential partner that will allow the Red Devils to move forward with the project.

No decision has been made on the scope or budget of the project, and it is still up in the air as to whether or not the stadium will receive a capacity increase. The final plan would be ‘based on analysis and on consultation’.

Stadium redevelopment plans are expected to be a key focus of the Fans’ Advisory Board (FAB), which will hold its first meeting early this year.

Manchester United CEO Collette Roche:

“These meetings have produced exciting potential ideas, although it’s important to note that we’re still at an early stage and it’s premature to talk about timetables,” she said.

“We intend to involve the Fans’ Advisory Board in the process, and we will also keep this Forum briefed. The creation of the FAB was an historic step that will establish a new model for fan engagement in English football and, ultimately, improve the club’s decision-making.”

Roche also noted that the development will be a ‘complex piece of work’, because of the many legal and regulatory factors involved. However, Roche reminded fans that good progress has been made and talks are at an advanced stage currently.

Sport Republic acquires stake in Southampton FC

Sport Republic – backed by billionaire Serbian businessman Dragan Solak – have acquired a large stake in the club.

English Premier League club Southampton has confirmed that Sport Republic – backed by billionaire Serbian businessman Dragan Solak – have acquired a large stake in the club.

They have purchased the stakes that were previously owned by Chinese businessman Gao Jisheng, and will work in collaboration with Katharina Liebherr – daughter of Swiss businessman Markus Liebherr – who owns the remaining stake in the club.

Sport Republic are a London-based investment firm for the sports and entertainment industry. They were founded by Henrik Kraft and Rasmus Ankersen and headed by Dragan Solak. Their portfolio includes Tonsser – a football player app that empowers youth players to progress and unlock their potential.

Southampton CEO Martin Semmens:

“Over the last two years, together with the shareholders of our club, we have searched for the right partner to take the club forward. Today we have found the perfect solution,” he said.

“Sport Republic are experienced investors, but also experienced within the world of elite professional sports. That combination is very hard to find, and we are thrilled to have reached an agreement that secures our short and long-term future.

“We are grateful for the support of Mr Gao and Katharina that allowed us to take our time, turn away the wrong options and ultimately find the right partner for the future of this great club, its fans, staff and the people of Southampton.

Sport Republic Lead Investor Dragan Solak:

“My partners and I have experience in long-term investments in the sports and entertainment industry and Sport Republic has been founded to combine this expertise and deliver something unique to the market,” he said.

“Southampton has so many of the qualities we have been looking for in a major sports organisation. It has a great management team, excellent talent development, talented teams playing attractive football and a dedicated fan base. We are delighted to be able to complete this acquisition.”

Sport Republic Chairman Henrik Kraft:

“We will be an active and engaged owner, but we will not be starting any revolutions. We were attracted to Southampton because it is already a well-run club that follows a clearly defined strategy,” he said.

“Whilst Southampton is Sport Republic’s first acquisition, we expect more investments to follow over the coming years. Our ambition is to build a portfolio of high-influence stakes in football clubs and other sporting assets across the world.

“At the same time, we will also invest in early-stage sports technology companies and use our portfolio to accelerate the development of these companies. The acquisition of Southampton is a great first step and we are very excited about the journey ahead.”

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