According to a report by Sports Innovation Lab, Manchester City have been named the most innovative sports team in the world.
The research and market intelligence firm assessed worldwide sporting clubs across three different categories: technology alignment, organisational agility and revenue diversification.
Over 8,000 data sources were analysed by the firm over multiple years, as well as more than 150,000 market signals to eventually determine the final rankings.
“Our team of analysts masterfully identified patterns of success among the world’s most nimble and well-prepared sports organisations,” said Josh Walker, Sports Innovation Lab co-founder and president.
“Our ongoing daily research and guidance will help the industry in charting the journey ahead.”
Manchester City were listed above an array of sporting sides, due to various factors.
The report stated “Manchester City has had their challenges recently, but that hasn’t stopped them from taking full advantage of their global brand awareness to diversify revenue opportunities, launch their own OTT service, and expand their products and services.
“City has consistently delivered unique experiences that other teams with fewer resources and smaller audiences would be wise to emulate.”
As an example, the English club recently launched a Facebook campaign that promoted a freestyle football competition to a global audience.
City have also worked with the social media giant and its supporters to generate long-form and short-form content that extended fan participation well beyond game-day, creating a variety of non-rights protected media.
Activations like that and the partnerships they have built with companies like Nissan, take advantage of City’s larger amount of assets they have through the City Football Group (CFG).
Sports Innovation Lab scored City the highest in technology breadth, meaning it is willing to use different services and products well before other sporting sides.
For example, City were the first team to launch a channel on Youtube Kids, a platform for children aged 12 and under, whilst also developing a partnership with Capstone Games to offer fans a digital experience where they act as a football manager and make critical in-game decisions.
The club does continue to be highly praised for its varying revenue sources as well, across its operations.
“In addition to all the brand and tech alignment City uses on social platforms, it gets similarly high marks for its revenue diversification and development of the Etihad campus — a multi-use district around the stadium that gives Manchester a hub of various media and entertainment experiences. As it continues to collect first-party data from its fans globally, it will be in a prime position to deliver Fluid Fans (technologically savvy supporters) a personalised experience,” the report said.
Other notable recent activity includes the Premier League side’s deal with Onefootball to distribute global editorial content on the German based company’s app, and their exclusive content deal with Douyin, a Chinese service owned by ByteDance (the company who owns TikTok). Mumbai City’s new deal with Puma, who outfits Man City, also highlighted the power of a centralised ownership group like CFG.
Sports Innovation Lab doesn’t forecast City will dip from the top of their bracket anytime soon.
“We expect City will be hard to unseat at the top of the rankings. They have a strong tech focus that should keep them ahead of the pack,” the report concluded.
The full Sports Innovation Lab list of the 25 most innovative sporting teams are shown below.
- Manchester City (Premier League)
- Real Madrid (La Liga)
- Arsenal (Premier League)
- Barcelona (La Liga)
- Bayern Munich (Bundesliga)
- Manchester United (Premier League)
- Golden State Warriors (NBA)
- Paris Saint-Germain (Ligue 1)
- Juventus (Serie A)
- Sacramento Kings (NBA)
- Liverpool (Premier League)
- Philadelphia 76ers (NBA)
- New England Patriots (NFL)
- Green Bay Packers (NFL)
- AS Roma (Serie A)
- Borussia Dortmund (Bundesliga)
- Tottenham Hotspur (Premier League)
- Toronto Raptors (NBA)
- Seattle Seahawks (NFL)
- Chicago Cubs (MLB)
- Los Angeles Clippers (NBA)
- San Francisco 49ers (NFL)
- Cleveland Cavaliers (NBA)
- Atlético Madrid (La Liga)
- Schalke 04 (Bundesliga)