The top five football leagues in the world can drive huge revenues from a plethora of sources including sponsorship, TV rights and numerous other commercial deals. But what about smaller, developing football leagues across the world who are consistently under pressure to generate revenue?
One such league that is making innovative strides is the Northern Ireland Football League (NIFL) who has struck a long-term deal with TRACKCHAMP. TRACKCHAMP provides the NIFL the power to increase visibility, improve performance and generate revenues through the production of high quality video and performance data, professional coaching tools, scouting tools, and a range of reports and services which enhance the experience of fans.
“When we entered into our partnership with TRACKCHAMP we were excited by what lay ahead but we could not have imagined how successful it would turn out to be. People are now watching our games from countries all around the world and I know that there is one dedicated supporter who watches his side every week from Argentina. He moved there from Belfast many years ago and this is the only way he gets to watch his team!” explains Andrew Johnston, Managing Director at the Northern Ireland Football League.
TRACKCHAMP is the first company in the world that combines two specialties: live high quality video production and real-time player-tracking which means they track each object on the field in 3D, up to 25 times per second with an accuracy of within 10 centimetres. They are able to turn performance data into usable information while streaming the footage in real-time.
“The combination of streaming and player tracking is another aspect of the technology that truly set TRACKCHAMP apart from the other companies who entered the tender process to be our partners. Clubs are able to use the coaching tool to analyse their performance as a team but crucially they can look at individual players and see how and where they can improve”, added Johnston.
“The amount of data that the TRACKCHAMP system collects is phenomenal.
“Coaches can see performance data, providing an objective insight into the stamina and fitness levels of each player. The cameras also have the ability to show a “panoramic” view showing team formations at various stages during the games.
“Obviously the NIFL has benefitted financially from this partnership but for us it is more about improving fan engagement, increasing our visibility around the world, and giving our clubs the opportunity to improve their coaching capability and performances on the pitch.”
The results have been impressive. Attendance at NIFL venues increased by 8.5% during our first year working with TRACKCHAMP and has risen by a further 4% in season 2015/16.
The NIFL use TRACKCHAMP’s ability of to reach a broader supporter base, as a part of their pitch to potential commercial partners who are looking for a more global audience. All graphics in broadcast videos can be branded and therefore present a great opportunity for sponsors. For example, Danske Bank, the NIFL’s main sponsor, is building their brand in Northern Ireland but have offices in 15 countries around the world. So by having their pitchside branding visible on TRACKCHAMP’s stream it allows them to reach an audience that they could not achieve through other sports sponsorships.
Player performance data is another great advantage that TRACKCHAMP brings. Instead of having just basic player data, the NIFL are now producing performance data for every player playing in the league. When taken together with the recorded player footage, it increases player value on the scouting market and brings more money back to the clubs.
So what does the future hold?
“At TRACKCHAMP we believe in democratisation of football. Our unique proven technology delivered by the best in the sports industry and the likes of our existing partners gives us optimism to continue partnering with football associations, leagues and clubs worldwide raising their game to the next level”, explains Martin Füreder, Managing Director at TRACKCHAMP.
Geoff runs his own Sports Consultancy, working with clients such as FIFA across the world. He is also on the board of Tourism Northern Ireland. You can follow Geoff on twitter @geoffwnjwilson or connect on Linkedin at www.linkedin.com/in/geoffwnjwilson