Why Manchester City were named the most innovative sports team in the world

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.

Full list:

  1. Manchester City (Premier League)
  2. Real Madrid (La Liga)
  3. Arsenal (Premier League)
  4. Barcelona (La Liga)
  5. Bayern Munich (Bundesliga)
  6. Manchester United (Premier League)
  7. Golden State Warriors (NBA)
  8. Paris Saint-Germain (Ligue 1)
  9. Juventus (Serie A)
  10. Sacramento Kings (NBA)
  11. Liverpool (Premier League)
  12. Philadelphia 76ers (NBA)
  13. New England Patriots (NFL)
  14. Green Bay Packers (NFL)
  15. AS Roma (Serie A)
  16. Borussia Dortmund (Bundesliga)
  17. Tottenham Hotspur (Premier League)
  18. Toronto Raptors (NBA)
  19. Seattle Seahawks (NFL)
  20. Chicago Cubs (MLB)
  21. Los Angeles Clippers (NBA)
  22. San Francisco 49ers (NFL)
  23. Cleveland Cavaliers (NBA)
  24. Atlético Madrid (La Liga)
  25. Schalke 04 (Bundesliga)

 

 

 

 

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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.

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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