Chatting with one of my oldest friends yesterday, Alan Rae, a Glaswegian now living in the USA and running a fascinating business called Sportolutions, providing e-commerce solutions for leading sports clubs across three continents.
To quote their own web site:
Cloud based solutions enabling sports teams and venues to connect with, engage and create new revenue from fans online, on mobile, in stadiums and on the street.
The most interesting aspect of our conversation was in connection with a new American football league that is being launched to cover the months that the NFL is in recess.
The FXFL (Fall Experimental Football League) will provide a developmental platform for budding NFL players. Would that some UK sports could take a tip from this.
The financial backing in place is significant, including a lucrative TV deal with ESPN that, predictably, will provide a lion’s share of the funding.
Alan’s company are going to be playing their part in building the e-commerce side of the League.
Here’s the extract from our conversation that had me thinking long after we had parted:
we recently sold 38,000 tickets for a football game on-line. 59% of them were purchased on a smartphone, 9% on a tablet – a total of 68% that didn’t require a PC or a traditional web site – we have realised that our future business will be mobile based.
They have already developed elaborate applications that facilitate social engagement, membership and merchandise, as well as ticket sales.
One platform, multiple new revenue streams No setup or ongoing costs. Clubs enjoy new revenue from memberships, social, games, competitions, peer-to-peer challenges & partner activation. TEAMS for ticketing Stadium level membership, season, reselling and direct ticket platform. TOUCH for loyalty & payments Cashless payment, loyalty reward and partner activation platform. PULSE for social & fan engagement Comprehensive fan outreach, games and competition platform. TEAMS Stage for music & arts No customer redirection to third party providers. Whether general access or fully seated, ticket sales are transacted on venues’ own websites with all the advanced features of TEAMS.
Alan’s belief is that the traditional web site will become extinct, replaced by a new form of responsive mobile site, assuming that the majority of customers will connect via a watch, smartphone or tablet.
Given the emergence of the Apple Watch, ever bigger iPhones, Android phones and iPads it begs the question whether the traditional laptop and PC will become the preserve of out-dated corporations (like the utility companies, local authorities and Government departments to whom I cannot send an email).
Whether in fact, the public will communicate with each other and with the world via hand-held and (eventually) wearable technology.
How long, I wonder, before we have to reinvent everything we know, including digital marketing.
Annoyingly (for me), he quotes Manchester City FC as one of the most innovative in the English League and Manchester United as one of the most backward. City want to learn and United think they must know it all.
Sounds familiar in UK dentistry – the biggest and longest established are the most difficult to modernise.