Digital Innovation

Rüdiger Müller, Head of Digital Content Products – FIFA
Juli Ferre Nadal, Managing Director EMEA – Tally Technology
Kahlen Macaulay, Sports Partnerships – Snapchat

A panel of digital innovation experts took to the stage at ISC to discuss how combining the digital and physical worlds can be a “game-changer” when turning Gen Z audiences into lifetime fans.

A recent partnership used to illustrate this was between Snapchat and SoFi Stadium in California, home to the NFL’s LA Rams and Chargers, which has seen AR photo filters used on live shots of fans displayed on the giant “Infinity screen” video boards.

“There’s a lot of potential for fans to really engage on-site but also off-site…in particular when I look at the next [men’s] FIFA World Cup [in the USA and Mexico],” said Rüdiger Müller, Head of Digital Content Products at FIFA – adding that the digital innovation he is most excited about is in connections stadiums.

Kahlen Macaulay (Senior Manager, Sports Partnerships – Snapchat), adding that 250 million people globally currently use augmented reality on Snapchat everyday and it is the company’s mission to “democratise the world of augmented reality and make it available to everybody.”

“We’re really trying to think about the touchpoints of sport and the Gen Z audience and younger consumes sport,” Macaulay added. “They are less likely to watch a full live event or a very long event. But the fragmentation and all those different individual components adds up to much more engagement.”

Juli Ferre Nadal (Managing Director EMEA – Tally Technology) took the opportunity to challenge the sports industry about building meaningful relationships with fans before thinking how fandom should be monetised.

Tally Technology, co-founded in 2018 by Super Bowl champion quarterback Russell Wilson, is a fan engagement and consumer data platform company that collects and segments consumer data to help its partners increase sponsorship and direct revenue

“When you’re in a football club, you end up talking too fast about monetisation,” he said. “I’m not a big fan of this…before we can do that we need to build a meaningful relationship, so you get data [on the fan] and so they trust you.”

He added rights-holders who are taking a step back and understanding whether they need to embrace the newest shiny product (or not) are the ones leading the way in digital innovation.

“I’ve been inside football clubs and sometimes it feels like you need to jump on the next big thing. We saw that with NFTs,” he added. “Clubs, in particular the top clubs, are really taking one step back. When you talk to the digital teams, they will tell you they cannot cope with everything that is happening because there is so much innovation.

“But they are taking that step back and looking at what they want to do in terms of digital innovation, and how they can direct the fan conversation.”