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BLOG: Split Screen Sunday

Following what is arguably one of the most incredible sporting Sundays in living memory, the traditional rating figures for the F1 British Grand Prix, Men’s ICC Cricket World Cup and Wimbledon Finals were released the following day.

With Sky Sports releasing coverage to a free-to-air audience on Channel 4, 8.3 million people watched the drama of a Super Over unfold, whilst a peak of 9.6m watched Novak Djokovic’s victory over Roger Federer in an equally titanic battle at Wimbledon and a further 3.7m viewers tuning in to see Lewis Hamilton win a record-breaking sixth British Grand Prix. In addition, the Netball World Cup in Liverpool was in its first weekend on Sky Sports and live-streamed in the UK by Sky Sports over YouTube.

However, on an afternoon described as ‘Split Screen Sunday’ by Sports Pro writer Eoin Connolly, two interesting topics were at the forefront of conversation here at InCrowd:

Servicing Fans

The debate around OTT vs Traditional Broadcast has been rumbling for a while now, but if anything, Sunday 14th July highlighted that ultimately fans don’t care through which platform the sport is delivered, as long as they can watch it. With 3 events happing concurrently, fans were left to argue which event took precedent and made it on to the TV, before utilising laptops, phones and tablets to stream the rest of the action. Clearly, this is a challenge, not only to the fan experience but to the whole concept of ‘attention’ which is so fundamental to the broadcast commercial model.

As a ‘Pom’ living in Australia, I’ve had the pleasure of using the Fox Sports-backed OTT service Kayo Sports, which includes a split-screen option that allows viewers to watch up to four streams at once. With sports scheduling becoming ever more congested, it will be interesting to see how broadcasters & rightsholders use technology to adapt to this challenge.

Audience Understanding

Whilst the traditional broadcast figures highlighted the impact that the sporting drama had on mass audiences, it was digital where the conversation and engagement were really happening. You only need to look at Google Trends to see the incredible spike that occurred when people grabbed their phones to Google what a ‘Super Over’ was!

As sport grapples with an explosion of media platforms and channels, it is becoming more and more important for sports rightsholders to own these conversations on digital, and to understand the ‘fans behind the figures’. For example, the BBC’s live feed broke records by recording 3.9m unique browsers…but how many of this 3.9m are known to the rightsholders of Cricket, Tennis & F1? Traditional figures behind the broadcast, ticketing and merchandise only tell a part of the engagement story. At InCrowd, we are delving into more and more data sources to not only identify each fan but to uncover & understand their emotional attachments to the sport. This ensures that sports can communicate and develop new relationships with each fan on a more personal level.

Sunday 14th July was undoubtedly the best sporting day of the year; big sporting moments saw big viewing numbers and new fans were brought into the worlds of Cricket, Tennis and Formula 1. But who are these fans? Data and real audience understanding would ensure that these relationships can be nurtured and harnessed over the subsequent 364 days…

 

Source Material: http://www.sportspromedia.com/opinion/cricket-world-cup-final-wimbledon-f1-british-gp-split-screen-broadcast

Hampshire Cricket Launch Brand New App

Hampshire Cricket and the Ageas Bowl are delighted to announce the launch of a brand new app, built in partnership with InCrowd.

The app, free for fans to download and available across both iOS and Android devices, will create a unique matchday experience for all spectators whilst further improving the engagement of cricket fans both inside and outside the Ageas Bowl. The app further demonstrates the Club’s commitment to innovation and is a part of the digital transformation process to develop a fully-connected stadium following last year’s introduction of giant Samsung LED screens and leading Wi-Fi technology.

Paperless ticketing is a key component of the app’s functionality with fans able to access tickets for matches at the Ageas Bowl and gain admission using their device via the app. Thanks to the newly developed mobile ticket wallet technology from InCrowd, fans will also have the ability to securely forward digital tickets to friends and family across operating systems, supporting the venue’s fight against ticket touts and improving entrance times.

The app will also feature an interactive wayfinding map, with those attending the Ageas Bowl on a matchday able to use the navigation tools to find amenities, activations and other locations. Fans both in the ground and at home will also be able to enjoy live streaming and video highlights of all non-televised Hampshire matches at the Ageas Bowl with exclusive content and behind-the-scenes content also hosted on the platform.

“We’re proud of the Ageas Bowl’s history of being at the cutting-edge of innovation in cricket and the launch of the Hampshire Cricket App is the latest example of this. The App has been developed with our fans firmly in mind and after seeing record-breaking customer and matchday experience scores and feedback in 2018, we’re confident the App will see Hampshire fans and Ageas Bowl attendees enjoy even more memorable experiences this summer” says David Mann, The Ageas Bowl Chief Executive.

InCrowd CEO Aidan Cooney says: “We are delighted that Hampshire Cricket is putting the fan first and has implemented InCrowd technology including the native ticket wallet to deliver an efficient and stress-free match day experience. At InCrowd, all our research and development is driven by fan feedback and we are looking forward to working with the club to really deliver on the promise of a better fan experience.”

Download for iOS

Download for Android

InCrowd pairs with ICC again for the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2017

After the success of the ICC FanScore Champions Trophy app, InCrowd and the International Cricket Council (ICC) are delighted to announce the launch of the new Official ICC FanScore Women’s World Cup app.

The app, which is available to download on both iOS and Android will follow the same format as the ICC Champions Trophy version, allowing fans to play for their favourite nation through a series of cricket predictors and will run throughout the ICC Women’s World Cup, held in England and Wales from the 24th June to 23rd July.

ICC FanScore Women’s World Cup 2017 utilises a series of easy-to-play predictor games and polls, giving cricket fans the chance to add some extra spice to the tournament by challenging their friends, competing against other fans, representing their nation and winning some fantastic money-can’t-buy prizes. These include a bat, signed by all the captains, a signed Sachin Tendulkar cap plus plenty more.   

The app also allows users to vote for their Fans’ Player of the Match as well being able to predict on multiple events within a match such as: 

  •  Match Winner
  •  Number of Runs in 1st Innings
  •  Highest Run Scorer
  •  Best Bowler

Prizes will be awarded to the best performing fans on multiple occasions throughout the tournament.

FanScore’s integrated push notification system will continue to give the ICC a new data-driven and highly targeted channel to communicate to their fans on a regular basis throughout the competition.

Aidan Cooney, CEO of InCrowd said: “After the success of the FanScore app for the ICC Champions Trophy we’re delighted to once again be working with the ICC, this time on the Women’s World Cup. With the growth of the women’s game in recent times it is a great opportunity for us to help raise visibility and engagement within women’s sport as well as providing fans with an enhanced experience of what should be a hugely competitive tournament.”

How to Increase Fan Engagement in Cricket

Cricket’s administrators should follow the women’s Ashes structure to increase fan engagement and TV revenue.

In 2013, the women’s Ashes was restructured to give one winner, taking into account performances across the Test, ODI and T20 formats. It was a huge success with greater national media interest than ever before. I think parts of the men’s game should learn from Clare Connor’s brilliant initiative.

Cricket has a problem – with three different formats it is hard to keep track. I have read a paper on David Kendrix’s ICC ranking system and studied how the County Championship points work. That probably defines me as a cricket nerd but I still have no idea which is the best county or even the best international team!

By combining the three formats into one competition, it would enable fans to understand what is going on throughout the tour.

cricket_format

International Example

Firstly, let’s take a typical England tour to India with 4 Tests, 4 ODIs and 4 T20s. I would then allocate:

  • 4 points for a Test win
  • 2 points for an ODI win
  • 2 points for a T20 win
  • Half points for a draw or tie

Enhancing Narrative

Work is then needed to make every match matter.

I think tennis does this fantastically well. Each game reaches regular climaxes with big implications for the overall match. The pressure boils over at the end of a set where risks are required and mistakes are costly.

We could do the same with cricket. Each “set” (1 x Test, 1 x ODI, 1 x T20) would take two weeks and could be repeated across the summer, providing broadcasters with regular scheduling:

Week 1
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
Test 1Test 2Test 3Test 4
Week 2
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
Test 5T20ODI

Each of these matches are important for the set and each set would be vital in the context of the overall series.

Consequences of points system

  • Match 1 (5 Day test): Starting the set and generating most points (4) allows test match cricket to retain its status as the most important match to win. Winning it would guarantee at least a draw in the set.
  • Match 2 (T20): Whatever the outcome of the test match, there would be everything to play for in the Friday evening big ticket T20. Off the back of a test victory, a team has the chance to clinch the set. A test defeat would position this a must win game.
  • Match 3 (Sunday ODI): Unless a team has won both the test and T20, there is still everything to play for in this deciding match, perfectly placed for a family day on the Sunday.

That would complete the set before we are back for another scintillating round starting with the test match.

Squad Dynamics

Player selection, rotation and management would become key strategies and talking points over the series. Perhaps, like in limited overs tournaments, the squad size could be restricted forcing players to excel at all formats or be tactically rotated by management. Would Cook be good enough to retain his place in a squad of 15 or would this give a chance to Alex Hales in test cricket?

An initial issue with a proposal like this is that players might find it hard to make constant format adjustments but shouldn’t that be part of the game? This is a proposal for fans not players.

Easy to Follow

The greatest advantage of this structure is how easy it is for fans to follow. With a consistent narrative built throughout the tour, we would remember key moments and know who the best team is rather than it being broken down by format. This is a big part of the 2013 women’s Ashes success.

When fans find sport easy to follow, it usually has positive implications for broadcasters. That, at least, should give encourage the game’s administrators.