Urban Zoo’s Gamechanger enhances the digital experience

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.  

Premier League club Sheffield United are one of Urban Zoo’s partners.

“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’re footy people,” Wigan’s Ashley Houghton said.  

“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.” 

Urban Zoo currently has 12 clubs and organisations as clients.

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. 

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Liam Watson is the Co-Founder & Publisher of Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy, industry matters and technology.

NWSL signs Amazon as a retail and cloud tech partner

The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) have confirmed a multi-year sponsorship with Amazon, making them the Exclusive Retail Sponsor of the NWSL and an extension of its current media deal.

This is an expansion of the previously announced multi-year rights deal that cemented Prime Video as the exclusive home for 27 NWSL matches each season at amazon.com/nwsl.

As part of the sponsorship, it will name Amazon as an official NWSL licensee. NWSL fans can now shop Amazon Fan Shop for hundreds of officially licensed NWSL products from Merch on Demand, Amazon’s print-on-demand service. Selection includes t-shirts, hoodies, tank tops, and more, spanning every NWSL team, across men’s, women’s, and youth styles and sizes.

This Amazon collaboration will also boost the media team at the NWSL with the league migrating match content from previous seasons using Amazon Web Services (AWS). This cloud-based media archive will enable NWSL to easily transfer historical footage and surface highlights, interviews, and behind-the-scenes footage to enhance fan engagement by building a more personalized connection between fans, the league, and the players they love.

Amazon Prime is also now the presenting partner for the NWSL’s Best XI Awards which recognises the best players by position on a monthly cadence throughout the season. For Prime, this represents an opportunity to bring fans closer to the players they love and joins them in celebrating the excellence of the athletes selected for this honour.

NWSL Chief Marketing & Commercial Officer Julie Haddon discussed the importance of expanding their existing deal with Amazon.

“We could not be more excited to continue to integrate Amazon more deeply into the NWSL family as they become our exclusive retail sponsor,” Haddon mentioned in a press release.

“Amazon’s global reach and customer-centric approach pairs perfectly with the NWSL’s fan-forward ethos. This partnership will not only amplify the NWSL’s fandom and growth but will also offer our fans an easy and accessible way to support their favourite teams and athletes.”

The ultimate goal is to increase the profile of the NWSL and serving customers’ growing interest in merchandise, content, and technical innovation.

The expansion is a fantastic move by the NWSL who are bringing the expertise of several Amazon businesses together in service to the league and its fans as they enter a period of incredible attendance and participation growth.

Sydney FC to utilise AI technologies with Bigtincan

Sydney FC has confirmed a ground-breaking partnership with AI-powered sales platform Bigtincan to improve fan engagement, plus player and coach development using the technology’s capabilities.

As a result of this partnership, Bigtincan will deliver a branded platform to enhance the performance of individuals and teams throughout the Sydney FC organisation.

Using AI, the company will leverage things like a player app for personalized skill development and coaching messages translated into multiple languages. Bigtincan will also help the club organise documents and information in a unified place for seamless access.

Bigtincan will utilise virtual showrooms powered by AI to showcase Sydney FC to its membership and fanbase, enabling interactive, self-guided tours and Digital Sales Rooms (DSRs).

The AI sales platform mission revolves around reshaping the future buying experience, leveraging AI and Augmented Reality to tailor experiences to the brand they partner with, and offering personalized engagements that guide customers toward confident decisions.

Bigtincan’s portfolio is wide and incredible with expertise that the biggest brand sand sporting organisations have adopted. These include Major League Baseball, Boston Red Sox, Sacramento Kings, and the Los Angeles Chargers, and other leading global leaders like Nike, Clorox, and Citibank.

The shared values of Sydney FC and Bigtincan converge on delivering engaging, empowering training experiences that enhance performance both on and off the field.

Mark Aubrey, Sydney FC CEO, discussed the club’s future vision with Bigtincan.

“Success stems from nurturing and training those entrusted with performance. Our coaches empower our players, much like Bigtincan does for major brands and global sports franchises with their AI-powered technology,” Aubrey mentioned in a press release.

“Our shared values in training and coaching create a natural alignment, and I am eager to see where this partnership takes us.”

David Keane, Co-Founder and CEO of Bigtincan, expressed enthusiasm about the digital partnership with Sydney FC.

“We are thrilled to collaborate with Sydney FC, leveraging our innovative AI-driven technology to support the team on and off the pitch while expanding the reach of our sales enablement automation platform,” he added in a statement.

This partnership is a major step forward in innovation for Sydney FC who are committed to providing specialised coaching and training, mirroring the club’s investment in the development of its staff and players both on and off the pitch.

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