InCrowd appoints Michael Jones as Chief Operating Officer

Michael joins InCrowd with over 20 years experience working across data, CRM, strategy and marketing with major sports organisations. Highlights include sitting on the ticketing strategy group for Rugby World Cup 2015 and working with other leading major rights holders and governing bodies such as British & Irish Lions, 6 Nations, EFL and Commonwealth Games 2022 on the implementation of data, insight and commercial strategies.

Most recently, Michael has held the role of Managing Director at sports marketing agency Goodform, specialising in data and insights and working with major sports organisations across the world. Prior to Goodform, Michael was Head of Business for Watford Football Club.

At InCrowd, Michael will be responsible for translating the vision and strategy of the business into operational delivery excellence. He will lead on facilitating internal commercial operations and importantly will help ensure our customers are able to drive their own commercial growth and fan engagement through optimum use of our technology solutions.

Aidan Cooney, InCrowd’s co-founder and CEO stated “We are delighted to welcome Michael to the InCrowd team as we continue to help organisations improve top-line growth and business efficiencies using our digital experience technology and solutions. Michael has a very strong track record of working in club operations and in providing CRM solutions to sports governing bodies, leagues and clubs. We are incredibly excited about the level of experience and expertise he is bringing to InCrowd and, most importantly, to our customers.”

“I’m delighted to be joining InCrowd at such a pivotal time in digital transformation within sport”. Michael says. “The business has grown exponentially in the last eighteen months with its clear mission to drive ROI through data-powered digital experiences. I feel privileged to have joined the outstanding InCrowd team and look forward to making a significant contribution to the business operations of InCrowd and its rapidly growing customer base”.

NEWS: Success Story – The RFL, InCrowd & Rewards4 blend engagement and loyalty

The RFL and InCrowd have worked together with Rewards4 to expand the highly successful Rewards4Rugby League loyalty programme, utilising fan data-driven push notifications to increase engagement.

Overview

Over the last 3 years, InCrowd has worked closely with The RFL and their partners to produce Our League, a world-class membership platform that boasts over 145,000 active members to date. During planning for the 2020 season a priority was placed on an enhanced integration with loyalty scheme provider Rewards4. For the launch of the platform back in 2017, Rewards4Rugby League, InCrowd and The RFL built a scheme that rewarded predictor performance. The predictor is a season-long engagement feature in which fans votes for match outcomes and try to climb the leaderboard to win money can’t buy prizes. Points won during the season counted towards discounts off a variety of rugby league tickets including The Coral Challenge Cup Final, and the Betfred Super League Grand Final. Since the start of the 2018 Betfred Super League season, nearly 27,000 predictor players have won a combined total of £70,000 worth of Rewards4Rugby League points, from this single touchpoint.

Given the unprecedented level of engagement with Our League’s predictor along with polls and player of the match voting, all parties were keen to build on these the strong foundations and further enhance the Rewards4Rugby League experience for Our League members.

The Solution

In time for the 2020 season, InCrowd, The RFL and Rewards4 collaborated to introduce an advanced push notification integration that would drive further engagement with the Rewards4Rugby League platform, through tailored and automated notifications in relations to points accrued by the fan. With this new development in place, predictor, polls and player of the match participants receive an automatic push notification informing them that they have earned points. This push notification’s call to action is relevant to the individual user’s Rewards4Rugby League account status. If they are already registered, the push prompts them to directly access their account. If new to the Rewards4 programme, the push encourages them to create an account at that moment. 

Integrating this smart push notification system increases the benefits of the loyalty scheme beyond those who perform well on the predictor, to Rugby League fans who take part in any of the fan activations within Our League. The programme now delivers four ways in which Our League members can accrue points:

  • Achieving streaks of correct predictions
  • Participating in the predictor, polls or player of the match voting

How it works

Results

The launch of the Rewards4Rugby League push notification integration has surpassed all expectations, with Our League members responding positively to seeing tangible benefits from their enhanced engagement with the Our League platform. 

Over the course of the 2019 season (February to October), Rewards4Rugby League members participated in 14.4% of the polls, player of the match and predictor questions available.

During the period of February to mid-March 2020 (pre Covid-19), participation from the same users rose to 32.9%, a 128% increase.

Nichola Spencer, Membership Manager, RFL: “For The Rugby Football League the further integration with Rewards4 and InCrowd has been a real win for our Members. We are able to offer members an extra financial incentive which encourages further engagement fans can spend on Rugby League ticketing and retail with no additional costs for The RFL. The integration is now a seamless experience for users and we look forward to adding more engagement touchpoints for them in the future.”

The numbers:

  • 85,000+ interactions with Our Leagues polls, predictor and player of the match vote.
  • 15,177 users have linked their Our League and Rewards4Rugby League accounts since the launch of the programme in 2018, an average of 419 accounts a month.
  • 2,305 accounts were linked in February 2020 as a result of the push notification integration.
  • 9,500 unique members have collected points as a result of Our League engagements.
  • 6,900 of these were existing Rewards4Rugby League members
  • 2,600 were new members
  • 1.7 million cumulative points have been collected.
  • 9, the average Rewards4Rugby League related engagements per member, where points have been collected

Tom Cowgill,  Director Rewards4: “It’s clear from these early results that if you make it simple and seamless for a fan to collect points for engaging with your app and those points actually have a value to the fan then, a) you have happy fans and b) they engage more with the content in your app.  Our integration with InCrowd enables OurLeague members to collect points within the app for voting on man of the match, entering a predictor or a poll.  This has clearly resonated with fans and the feedback has been wholly positive (as is evidenced by the Trustpilot review from Lee).  We are looking forward to working with the RFL and InCrowd to introduce more points collection touchpoints within the app and seeing even higher levels of engagement once the season recommences in August 2020.”

Benefits

  • Fans receive clear, monetary benefits for engaging with the sport that they love. These can be redeemed against ticket purchases such as the Coral Challenge Cup Final.
  • The RFL benefits from both greater engagement and satisfaction from rugby league fans, and increased revenue from discounted purchases by the fans using the programme.

Lee left a five star review on Trust Pilot: “An excellent concept. I earn points for picking man of match for instance by effectively a few clicks. Those points turn into pence which add up to pounds and recently turned the pounds to a voucher which was spent easily. A very good and easy way to earn money for that jersey you want or tickets to see your team.”

Darren Parsons, InCrowd: “We were confident this addition would be well received by the rugby league fanbase that are already highly engaged with the Our League platform, but the numbers seen straight from launch were even more positive than expected. As a result of a few strategies consulted on by InCrowd and actioned by the RFL, there has been a marked increase in engagement across a wide variety of Our League features which is great to see. We’ll continue to monitor this closely and explore how we can develop the offering to fans further.”

NEWS: InCrowd introduces Front Row, a live fan video activation for LED perimeter and big screen stadium displays

For the foreseeable future, sport will be played without fans in stands; but that doesn’t mean they can’t be part of the game. InCrowd Cast Front Row allows the user to moderate live video feeds of fans from their homes and display the footage around the venue on any available LED perimeters and big screen equipment.

What is Front Row?

The use of LED perimeters is the key. Whilst numerous closed-door crowd noise and virtual attendance solutions have presented themselves in reaction to the Covid-19 crisis, Front Row is one of the only solutions on the market that allows the user to transmit video to the LED perimeters. Fans will be pitchside, their live video feeds displayed in close view of the players they are supporting. Importantly, Front Row offers real-time fan engagement which avoids difficult situations in which fan reaction doesn’t match on-pitch action, a problem often encountered in pre-recorded fan video feeds.

Front Row is a fan engagement solution with longevity; it does not start and finish with closed-door sport. Front Row allows fans unable to attend matches to be part of the action and to contribute to the stadium atmosphere. Create deeper connections with your international audience and massively improve accessibility for every fan, by putting them in the front row. There are also numerous new sponsorship opportunities for partners’ brands across the perimeter and big-screen displays whilst also driving direct revenue through ticket and merchandise promotions.

Front Row gives rights holders the opportunity to create a brand new digital fan experience and bring stadiums back to life.

How does Front Row work?

Front Row can transmit live fan video to in-stadia display in just a few simple steps:

  1. The Operator dials selected fans -+into a Zoom video call via a PC running InCrowd Cast Instadia Display Software. Zoom grid view will then allocate each fan a square segment.
  2. InCrowd Cast will then capture the zoom screen output of up to 16 fans and apply those individual camera feeds to the Cast software, ready to be transmitted to chosen stadium displays (fan grid format for big screen, single fan segments for perimeters).
  3. With InCrowd Cast connected to the big screen and/or the LED perimeters, these fan videos will be displayed in real-time.

What do I need?

A laptop/PC
Front Row works with 3×3 or a 4×4 grids of fan segments on a single Zoom call, giving 9 or 16 fans the opportunity to be shown live across the stadium displays. (If you would like to show more than 16 fans on the in-stadia displays, that is possible! Get in touch and we can explain the logistics).  

An InCrowd Cast licence
This is the control software that will be plugged in and operating the boards.

An Operator
An individual that can manage the Zoom call, so they can closely watch the call and preempt any misbehaviour or dismiss/add fans from the call.

Full Control

Front Row operators have the ability to fully moderate and control what is displayed in the stadium:

Adapt the grid size and number of grids to ensure a full display on the big screen.

Control the number of segments in perimeters to fit with advertising commitments.

Full moderation; operators can swiftly remove and replace video feeds as necessary.

Set fail-safe imagery; immediate activation if a fan drops off feed or is removed.

Dropped video detection; the system can detect a missing fan, auto-fills with fail-safe.

Sponsorship; the system can dynamically switch between fan & sponsor content

 

For more information on Front Row contact ollie.clements@incrowdsports.com

NEWS: Hampshire Cricket Claim Two Prestigious Prizes at ECB Business Of Cricket Awards

Hampshire Cricket claimed two prizes, including the Best Loyalty Initiative Award for the innovative Hampshire Cricket App, at the annual Business of Cricket Awards hosted at the Ageas Bowl on Thursday evening.

The accolade, which recognises a creative and innovative approach to engaging with fans and Members, was presented to the club for the launch of its new App – the first of its type in English county cricket – which has helped to bring fans closer to the action whilst enhancing the matchday experience at the Ageas Bowl.

The free-to-download App, developed in partnership with InCrowd, has enabled Hampshire fans all over the world to enjoy live streaming, scorecards and video highlights of Hampshire matches as well as access to exclusive content and behind-the-scenes footage. Fans have been able to have their say courtesy of player of the match polls, while a Fan Cam allows supporters to share their experience of following Hampshire to see themselves on the Ageas Bowl’s big screens or social channels.

The early success of the App, launched in May 2019, has seen users spend more than 2.3 million minutes on the platform, accumulating over 1.5 million page views in that time. Another key component of the App’s functionality is its ticketing wallet and this has also been particularly well received with more than 17,000 digital tickets used to gain admission to the Ageas Bowl for matches during the 2019 season.

Hampshire Cricket’s Head of Marketing, Harry Walklin, also received the Rising Star Award at the ceremony as the club celebrated an awards double, while the club was shortlisted for its Blast IT Communications Campaign, in which the App played a central role.

Head of Marketing, Harry Walklin said: “It was a huge privilege to host this year’s Business of Cricket Awards and we’re thrilled the Hampshire Cricket App was recognised. The App was developed with our fans firmly in mind and we’ve been delighted to see so many of our supporters utilising it to stay close to everything going on at the club. We’re looking to add some exciting new features and functionality over the coming months, ahead of what’s set to be another huge summer at the Ageas Bowl.”

The BOCAs, which aim to recognise non-playing excellence in the professional game, saw the nationwide county network join together to celebrate outstanding and innovative business practice in the sport.

The event, hosted by BBC presenter Mark Chapman, was held at the home of Hampshire Cricket for the first time with ECB Chief Executive Officer Tom Harrison and ECB Chairman Colin Graves both in attendance.

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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.”

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RFL’s Our League named as a finalist at the Sports Business Awards

Our League, the Rugby Football League’s membership scheme for fans, players, coaches, volunteers and viewers, has earned the game further national recognition with a nomination in a second major sports awards ceremony this spring.

Our League is in the running for a Sports Business Award on May 31 in the Best Fan Engagement Programme category. This is the second award nomination of the awards season, having already been included on the shortlist for Best Fan / Community Engagement for the BT Sports Industry Awards on April 25. This second nomination comes after Our League recently celebrated breaking through the 100,000 members milestone, showing just how much Rugby League means to the fans.

Mark Foster, the RFL’s Chief Commercial Officer, said: “It’s great to have this recognition for the sport, and also for the people who have worked so hard to establish and develop Our League since it was launched in late 2017.“It was the first Rugby League OTT platform, allowing more matches and features to be broadcast and watched than ever before – and a pivotal part of our strategy for ensuring that Rugby League is well-placed to capitalise on the opportunities provided by the digital revolution.”

Launched in Autumn 2017 in partnership with InCrowd, the membership scheme has improved fan experience and engagement for lovers of Rugby League at all levels of the game, offering exclusive content, predictor games, ticket offers, money can’t buy benefits and prizes via the digital platforms – app (iOS & Android) and website that members can access. This season Rugby League personalities such as Andrew Henderson and Jamie Jones-Buchanan have led extensive coverage of the Betfred Championship and League One competitions, focusing on the best tries and matches through the week – as well as providing live and exclusive coverage every weekend.

This weekend (30th March) focus turns to the Coral Challenge Cup, with the Our League cameras focusing on the famous St Helens amateur club Thatto Heath, and their attempt to spring an upset against North Wales Crusaders. That will be followed by a blockbuster opening fixture from the fast-growing Women’s Super League on April 7, as Wigan Warriors launch their defence of the title against fierce local rivals St Helens.

Darren Parsons, Marketing Account Manager at InCrowd said, “Recently smashing the 100K member mark, Our League continues to be a great project to work on in close collaboration with the Rugby Football League. It’s been amazing to see fans from all corners of the Rugby League community come together and find something to engage with on the platform; it’s fast becoming an absolute must-have, for every fan.”

Download the Our League app on Apple iOS and Android or visit rugby-league.com to sign up for FREE!

The RFL & InCrowd welcome over 100,000 members to Our League

Our League, the RFL’s website & mobile app for rugby league spectators, viewers & participants has officially surpassed the 100,000 members mark.

Launched in Autumn 2017 in partnership with InCrowd, the membership platform offers exclusive content, participation, ticketing integration, member benefits and prizes, enhancing the fan experience for lovers of Rugby League at all levels of the game.

Surpassing the 100k mark is the latest achievement for the Our League platform, having celebrated a number of landmarks since it’s fruition. Over 76,000 members interact with Our League through the official app with single day usage peaking at over 47,000.

The stats

53 rugby league matches have been streamed live, including Betfred Championship and League 1, Coral Challenge Cup (Men’s & Women’s) and Women’s Super League. 51,000 unique members have watched the live streamed matches, amounting to over 160,000 cumulative live streams views to date, with the current record at 25,000 viewers during England vs France in October 2018.

The popular round-by-round predictor game, which has engaged nearly 40,000 regular players, has awarded supporters with numerous prizes including hospitality tickets at all major Rugby League events, signed shirts/match balls and the opportunity to win the grand prize of £20,000.

Supporters have also been able to have their say by voting for the Man of the Match for every televised Betfred Super League and Betfred Championship fixture. Participation in the poll has generated an average of 3,000 votes per game. The app’s match centre, which covers community leagues right up to the Betfred Super League, was viewed over 1 million times in February alone.

Our League 100K members
Nichola Spencer, Membership Manager at the RFL said, “It’s fantastic that we’ve achieved the 100k members mark and the success of Our League continues to surpass our expectations. Our active membership numbers are constantly increasing and we are smashing record after record in terms of users and participation.”
“We’d like to thank InCrowd for the exceptional service they have provided since the launch of the platforms and we look forward to continuing our relationship with them to further improve the app and website. We are excited about what we will achieve together over the course of 2019, delivering an even better experience for our unique and passionate fans.”

Darren Parsons, Marketing Account Manager at InCrowd said “Our League continues to be a great project to work on, with the platform evolving and usage increasing regularly. It has been great to see members from all corners of the rugby league community come together and find something to engage with on the platform and in collaboration with The Rugby Football League, we will continue to develop Our League into an absolute must-have, for every fan.”

Download the Our League app on Apple iOS and Android or visit rugby-league.com to sign up for FREE!

InCrowd & The RFL shortlisted for prestigious BT Sport Industry Award

We are proud to announce that The Rugby Football League‘s Our League fan membership platform, built by InCrowd, has been shortlisted for the Fan or Community Engagement Award at the BT Sport Industry Awards 2019, hosted by Sport Industry Group.

The BT Sport Industry Awards 2019 recognise outstanding work delivered over the preceding calendar year. Winners of the BT Sport Industry Awards 2019 will be announced at the industry’s biggest night of the year on Thursday, April 25th at Battersea Evolution.

Alex Coulson, Managing Director of Sport Industry Group, said: “As the biggest commercial sport awards in the world, the BT Sport Industry Awards have always served as a fantastic barometer of the industry’s health and an indicator of emerging trends. This year’s shortlist provides yet more evidence of the highly resilient nature of sports, with clear signs that the industry has enjoyed a bumper year. What’s also clear is the ongoing transformation of the sports media landscape, whose impact we expect to see ripple further through the industry in years to come. It’s a powerhouse list that we will look forward to celebrating when the industry comes together on Thursday 25th April for what is the greatest annual commercial showcase in sport.”.”

“We have an amazing team here at InCrowd, and this is an incredibly proud moment,” says Aidan Cooney, CEO of InCrowd. “We are starting to make groundbreaking advances in the field of sports marketing using technology to help sports tell their story and enable fans and brands to be part of that story. It is fantastic when an outside body recognises this work and we are beyond honoured to be included on such a strong list of contenders. We are looking forward to celebrating with everyone in April.”

For more information, please visit www.sportindustry.biz/awards and follow @SportIndustry #BTSIA on social media.

 

 

About the BT Sport Industry Awards

The BT Sport Industry Awards are the largest commercial sports awards in the world. Bringing together sports stars, celebrities, senior decision makers, influencers and global media, the industry’s night of the year celebrates the very best work from across the sector. The famous trophies are awarded on-stage in front of a sell-out crowd of 1,700 guests at the annual, star-studded showcase in London. 

 

About Sport Industry Group

Sport Industry Group supports business across the sport sector through a series of world-class events, including the BT Sport Industry Awards and Sport  Industry NextGen; leading editorial content via the Sport Industry Daily; and unparalleled networking opportunities, attended by senior, influential figures from across the British and international sporting landscape.

InCrowd recognised on ‘Agency Of The Year’ Shortlist

On 30th January, the shortlists for the 2019 Yahoo Sports Technology Awards were revealed. InCrowd are proud to announce that we are amongst the five successful shortlisted agencies, whose work has been recognised in the Agency Of the Year category. This year, once again, sees fierce competition with entries representing 50 sports from 30 countries doing battle.

InCrowd are a data and technology led  fan marketing company, but first & foremost, we are sports fans. We understand the passion & dedication of supporters towards the clubs, leagues & players they love. Our vision is to lead the evolution of the fan experience through technology & insight, giving clients opportunities to deliver personalised & relevant content and create unique commercial opportunities, driving value for everyone. To meet the challenges of today’s sports marketing landscape, InCrowd assessed the structure of our business in regards to efficiency, conducted fan research projects & launched a host of new products & features with major rights holders across a range of sports, ultimately rewarded by our nomination in this year’s Yahoo Sports Technology Awards.

InCrowd’s highlights include:

  • The RFL’s Our League membership platform, building a community of over 90K members in its first year.
  • The Formula 1 Grand Prix app, a digital concierge service for fans, for every track.
  • The Sky Sports Road To Moscow predictor game for the 2018 World Cup, that generated 2.64m predictions.
  • A 309% usage increase for our InCrowd Cast in-stadia digital display management software.

Rebecca Hopkins, Sports Technology Awards Group CEO, said “We are in the sixth cycle of the Yahoo Sports Technology Awards and this year’s entries, once again, push the boundaries of innovation across the sector. The shortlist highlights frontrunners in every area and proves that these Awards highlight the industry’s technical progress like no other. Every successful brand should be proud to have made it this far given the high standard of competition.”

CEO of InCrowd Aidan Cooney says “Moments like this make me feel incredibly proud –  we feel that we have an amazing team and we are starting to make groundbreaking advances in the field of sports marketing using technology to help sports tell their story and enabling fans and brands to be part of that story and it is nice when an outside body recognises the steps we are taking. We are honoured to be included on such a strong list of contenders and look forward to celebrating with everyone at the ceremony”.

The 2019 ceremony will be hosted at the Roundhouse, London, on May 2nd, an experience enjoyed by leading industry figures, innovators and international athletes, who will be flying in from around the world for the event. InCrowd would like to congratulate our fellow nominees and look forward to the celebrations.

For more information about InCrowd, please contact enquiries@incrowdsports.com

More information about the Awards can be found at www.sportstechgroup.org

Editors Notes: The Yahoo Sports Technology Awards is the leading global celebration of technology-led innovation across the international sports sector. Held annually as a competition to highlight outstanding advances in the industry, the Awards is run by the Sports Technology Awards Group and judged by over 40 leading influencers from the world of sport. Six brands are shortlisted for every category, with one outright winner being awarded the YSTA Trophy in each. The Awards were first held in 2014, with Yahoo Sport taking headline sponsorship for the first time in 2018. The Awards attract hundreds of entries from more than 30 countries and 50 sports. The Group is also glad to be partnered with Ticketmaster Sport as Global Ticketing Partner, Charles Russell Speechlys as Global Legal Partner, and Betconstruct as Global Betting Partner.