There are sports fans and then there are football fans. The game full of thrills, excitement, arouses a passion like second to none, full-throated singalongs, and emotions that you can’t feel in words.
With time, the game is evolving; rules are changing, and tech is trying to figure out what it is doing in the game. With all of these fans are changing, their way of experiencing is also changing. Now, they’re not just singing; they fight on social media with their rival supporters. They’re not crowding around the TV at a corner in a bar; they live-stream matches through multiple OTT platforms on their phones, tablets, laptop, or their PCs. It’s an innovation that pushes the sports industry to reinvent itself as teams, brands, and leagues are finding new ways to communicate with fans and respond to their passion with a tailor-made, personalized experience.
Open chance created but missed
For proof, in the list of top 20, professional sports league by their revenue, 13 of those belongs to football, which is 65% of it.
Let’s look to LaLiga, a multi-storied Spanish soccer league with 42 clubs to its name, including some of the historic clubs like Real Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla, and Athletic Bilbao. A league where legends play organizes nearly 1000 games every year cater to a global audience of over 2 billion. It also has a vast presence on social media, claiming about 1.8 billion followers.
But for all of their social media followers, LaLiga felt they keep on missing open opportunities. Without making any further due league decided, it needs a better way to reach their fans with content that is personally meaningful to them. To solve such an issue, LaLiga partnered with Microsoft Digital because of its ability of ways to connect with smartphone users and decided to partner with the company. With LaLiga’s talent and Microsoft Digital capabilities, they finally able to score the Goal: Find cutting-edge ways to tap into the fan conversations happening around the world.
LaLiga President Mr. Javier Tebas said, “Football is a central part of the culture not only in Spain but also globally. It’s part of the daily social fabric for many, many people.” He also added, “But with the growth of digital technology, fans today want a lot more. They want to discuss games over social channels. They want to know what happened between matches. We needed to deepen our knowledge of our fans and focus on delivering the content and information that’s most relevant to them.”
Another shot taken and…!!!!
Microsoft was fueling with its digital transformation so that LaLiga can take full advantage of artificial intelligence, visualization of data, and even augmented reality to create incredible fan experiences and unlock new value. The le Maestro of this innovation was Microsoft’s cloud computing service; it allowed Laliga to fill the gaps they had while tracking fans’ behavior on their digital channels and record individual user preference. Using social listening technology in more than 20 languages to follow conversations going on online, LaLiga gained a deeper understanding of what fans want.
“Microsoft technology now allows us to pull data not only around quantity, but also the tone: the sentiment of the fans and the comments they’re sharing on social networks,” Tebas says. “We can detect which countries are following a match and which ones have the most passionate fan base. We can even get in contact with fans and speak to them directly.” The result is a more personalized content creation for fans who have interacted with LaLiga teams on the website, apps, and social channels.
A New Hope
Modernizing customer engagement at the core of what its means to undergo digital transformation. It goes beyond LaLiga, and the entertainment and sports industries — businesses ranging from retail to consumer goods all stand to benefit from services that get them closer to their customers and enhance their experience. Ramesh Siva, Microsoft’s VP of digital strategy and innovation, said: “Today, businesses want to have a deeper sense of intimacy with consumers.” He added, “Technology alone cannot change the world. It is the imagination that moves us forward by unlocking technological possibilities, applying them to real problems and opportunities, and challenging the status quo by rethinking what’s possible.”
In LaLiga’s case, the goal is that by providing better, more targeted content to fans, they increase their loyalty and open the door to new kinds of fan experiences, such as the opportunity to join fellow fans online communities. It also turns its analysis inward; for example, it draws 20 years of weather data to determine whether a match should be scheduled on a certain day. These AI-driven insights are resonating across the business world— and LaLiga is making a stellar test case.
The partnering of LaLiga and Microsoft inevitably leads to a digital transformation of the game and will serve as a notion for other leagues, federations, and teams across the globe by providing unforgettable, truly differentiating experiences.
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