With a reported 659 million 'followers' worldwide, Manchester United Football Club is one of the biggest brands in world football. While the sheer scope of its fan base can limit its ability to connect with its followers, it provides the club with masses of potential in the form of big data.
In order to transform this potential into action, the Manchester club has partnered with Indian outsourcing firm HCL to set up a digital innovation lab inside its Old Trafford stadium, Tech World reports.
The United Xperience Lab will resemble many of the innovation labs that have become prevalent in a variety of sectors in recent years, with the aim of developing a "holistic" platform for all its digital media.
If the initiative proves a success during the testing phase, the platform could include the use of predictive analytics in order to determine the behaviour of the club's fans, allowing it to make more accurate predictions of future outcomes and trends.
HCL's CEO, Anant Gupta, suggests improving the customer experience is a key objective behind the partnership, with talk of overhauling customer relationship management systems and development of mobile apps.
However, considerable guesswork is required at this early stage, as details of what will be created have yet to be decided.
What is clear, though, is that the partnership will place a firm emphasis on improving the fan experience at the club – with data and predictive analytics, in theory, giving Manchester United a better understanding than ever of who its fans are and what services they are craving.
"We work very hard at making sure we measure what fans are interested in," said Manchester United's group managing director, Richard Arnold, at a press event held at Old Trafford.
"This partnership allows us to take a huge leap forward in the quality of that data in terms of the depth and breadth of analytics, which allows us to further enhance what we offer to fans to make it the right content, in the right format, set up for the right device in the right way that allows for whatever bandwidth they have at that point in time."
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