The Bundesliga continues to build its reputation as football’s innovation benchmark

The Bundesliga is one of the world’s leading sports brands.

The competition has the highest average attendance figures in world football (over 43,000 per game), as well as huge overall revenues that are only comparable to a few other sporting leagues across the globe.

The German league has used this success to continue to build its digital engagement methods with its worldwide supporter base.

Over the past three seasons the Bundesliga’s digital channels have increased its fanbase by over one hundred percent, becoming the most engaged of all top European leagues.

The Bundesliga’s proactive approach continues to show why it is being labelled as football’s leading league, in regards to its technological enhancements.

Its long-term strategy to produce content that reaches more fans, in more ways, more often, is fuelling its further growth.

In recent years, the competition does have a notable history when it comes to innovation.

In 2011, the Bundesliga launched the world’s biggest digital football archive. The archive has over 33,000 matches on demand and over 140,000 hours of content, with historical data spanning back to the league’s composition in 1963.

In 2012, it became the first professional league to create an E-Football competition which now has over 120,000 players competing each year.

Goal-line technology was implemented in 2015, with games broadcasted in Ultra High Definition (UHD) in 2016.

VAR was introduced in the Bundesliga in 2017, becoming one of the first leagues to use the system.

Virtual advertising began in 2018, with Artificial Intelligence (AI) used to deliver highlights in 2019 to fans, through a partnership with WSC Sports.

In association with Vodafone, the Bundesliga implemented 5G technology in football stadiums for the first time ever this past season. Fans were able to test real-time data and Augmented Reality (AR) on their smartphones during a game, in what was a look into the future for the in-stadium spectator experience.

So, after all of these previous technological innovations, what are the Bundesliga’s future plans in the digital world?

Their long-term approach focuses on a key process, which includes: Monitoring the current industry and engagement levels, building new innovative products and testing their capabilities, then finally implementing those that are successful and will satisfy the league’s high targets.

The league works with educational institutions such as Harvard Business School and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to keep an eye on new tech and identify changes in consumer behaviour, consumption and how they relate to the league.

Alongside this academic research, data has been collected by Bundesliga subsidiary Deutsche Fussball Liga (DFL) Digital Sports, detailing how fans consume football, on what platforms, how often and what type of content they enjoy the most.

Another Bundesliga subsidiary Sportec Solutions, records around four million pieces of data from each game, equating to roughly 40,000 pieces a minute. Using DFL Digital Sports’ personal preference information, the data gathered can be utilised by delivering content that leads to deeper connections with its fans and building its base in key markets.

“Understanding the needs and interests of Bundesliga fans stands at the centre of our strategic development as an entertainment provider,” Bundesliga’s Executive Vice-President of Digital Innovation, Andreas Heyden, told fcbusiness.

“Innovative technologies don’t only allow us to learn about and identify what consumers want, but also enables us to react to their demand for individualised content whenever and wherever they want. How fast leagues are able to feed in and integrate new technologies, and offer customised content to fans, will determine who will be at the forefront of football innovation in the years to come.”

Partnering with Messe Dusseldorf, the Bundesliga participated in and also hosted various innovation events in different markets.

In May 2018, the first SportsInnovation event was held in Dusseldorf, with SportsInnovation Future Summits held in China and the USA late last year.

A similar SportsInnovation event will be held in the near future.

Messe Dusseldorf’s Director of SportsInnovation, Heinz Kusters, said: “No other football league offers an innovation event on this scale. It offers a platform for interaction and exchange. Decision-makers from clubs, federations and organisations, as well as the media and the broadcasting industry involved in high-performance sports will come together from all four corners of the world, gain exclusive insights into the technologies of the present and future, exchange ideas and set the foundation for innovations to come. With several new technological developments in the areas of match analysis, broadcasting, digital services and stadium experience to be showcased in a live football environment, it’s certainly an event not to be missed.”

The Bundesliga does continue to invest in its bright future.

An investment with German company Athletia, has led to a joint venture product called ‘Ryghts’, which will monitor all levels of international piracy of Bundesliga matches.

Smart financial decisions such as this, will help the league maintain its strong reputation as football’s innovation leader.

Avatar
Philip Panas is a sports journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy and industry matters, drawing on his knowledge and passion of the game.

Global Institute of Sport and former Newcastle United defender Steven Taylor launch ‘study and play’ academy in Dubai

Global Institute of Sport (GIS) has announced an expansion into the Middle East by partnering with leading football performance specialists The Player, co-founded by former Newcastle United defender Steven Taylor.

Aspiring footballers from across the globe can now study a GIS university degree and immerse themselves in an elite football environment with the stunning surroundings of Dubai.

The new ‘Study & Play: Dubai’ initiative provides footballers of all levels with an unprecedented opportunity to train and play in state-of-the-art facilities under the guidance of UEFA A licenced coaches. Alongside their football, students studying a specialist GIS online sports degree will receive local academic support, as well as be part of a global cohort of GIS students studying the same degree course.

Open to students from across the world to move to Dubai, successful applicants will be able to immerse themselves in the Middle East’s emerging football market, gain cutting-edge skills and apply for sports work placements that will shape their future both on and off the field.

The Player Co-Founder and former Newcastle United player Steven Taylor commented:

“This partnership with GIS offers a fantastic opportunity for young athletes. Education is one of our four main focuses at The Player, and we’re able to offer high level performance training alongside this education.”

Fellow The Player Co-Founder and UEFA A licenced coach Sam White added:

“We’re really proud to be introducing this partnership with Global Institute of Sport, and being able to offer young professionals and talented young athletes the opportunity to study a degree and play or work within the world of football in Dubai at the same time.”

GIS President and CEO Sharona Friedman stated:

“GIS was founded with the intention of bringing the best learning and education from the world of sport together so that students are able to graduate with a holistic understanding of best practice from around the globe.

“We are delighted to partner with The Player to provide an additional immersive opportunity for students to study and train in an elite football environment, whilst also bringing our education model to a new region, which will be at the forefront of sports business and performance for the decades to come.”

The GIS degrees available to study as part of this opportunity are:

All programmes are delivered entirely online with the exception of MSc Football Coaching & Analysis, which is largely online plus two residential weeks in either London, Miami or Melbourne.

For more information on Study & Play: Dubai, you can visit the link here: www.GIS.sport/dubai.

FIFA implement measures to protect female players and coaches

FIFA has announced several amendments to the current Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players (RSTP). These changes have been approved by the FIFA Council by May 2024 and have been brought into effect from June 1.

These changes are majorly focused on women and the impact that menstruation and pregnancy have on their careers.

A meeting of key stakeholders and FIFA members resulted in these new regulations advancing the women’s game.

These include:

  • FIFA female players and coaches can now receive a minimum of 14 weeks of paid maternity leave.
  • A minimum of 8 weeks of paid absence for female coaches and players who adopt a child under the age of 2.
  • Also, a minimum of 8 weeks paid absence from the birth of the child if they are not the biological mother (for example same-sex parenthood).
  • Players are entitled to full remuneration if they are absent from training or games due to menstruation or pregnancy health reasons.
  • There is increased support for female players in contacting families during national team contexts to ease pressure on children and mothers.

FIFA Chief Legal & Compliance Officer Emilio García Silvero has commented on the recent changes:

“FIFA is committed to implementing a dynamic regulatory framework that is sound and suitable for the increasing needs of female players and coaches,” he said via media release.

“In order for the game to further flourish, it’s key that we have a holistic approach towards player well-being, including the legal aspects.”

This is a huge advancement in the game’s equality mission as FIFA has recognised and actively planned to ease the physical, psychological and social dimensions of pregnancy and menstruation for women athletes.

These regulations fit Goal 2 in FIFA’s Strategic Objectives for the Global Game: 2023-2027, which describe the organisation’s commitment to exploring and implementing further safeguards for player and coach welfare.

FIFA Chief Football Women’s Officer Dame Sarai Bareman outlined the importance of placing women’s physical health in the legal and mainstream dialogue of the sport.

“When you’re playing sport for a living, and in a professional environment, we have to factor in that the female menstrual cycle can also impact on your ability to deliver within your role,” she added via media release.

“So, it’s important that we protect … those that are affected by their menstrual cycles in a way that it doesn’t put at risk their employment situation with their club and, ultimately, their ability to earn money.”

This announcement shows the players are becoming the major stakeholders in laws and regulations around their welfare.

This is an important strategy for the equality of the game by making sure that women’s sporting careers are not put on hold or impacted by their natural body function or raising a child.

Most Popular Topics

Editor Picks

Send this to a friend