InCrowd Welcomes John Beale as CFO

After an incredibly successful 18 months, InCrowd continues to drive forward and expand its digital and data offering in international markets by appointing John Beale as it’s new CFO. John will be stepping into the role with the retirement of current incumbent David Johnson, who has been instrumental in the rapid expansion of InCrowd as a business in its 6 years.

With a proven ability in implementing corporate control and commercial flexibility in high growth technology markets, John has been part of a senior management team that led the development of a multi geographical £200m digital content sales organisation from VC, to AIM and subsequent sale. John specifically oversaw the finance function as well as data compliance and cyber security, GDPR and development of payment fraud IP via the use of deep data technologies.

John’s more recent experience of engaging legacy retail consumers with the world of recurring digital content purchasing in order to drive long term, profitable revenue streams stands him in good stead for the role, bringing a new set of experiences and technological understanding that will be paramount in the next phase of business growth for InCrowd as the company progresses its data capture and monetisation model.

“John brings some great technology sector experience to the business as we lay the foundations for the next phase of growth,” says InCrowd CEO Aidan Cooney. “I am delighted that he has agreed to join us on our journey.”

Outside of work John has always been a keen sportsman, playing a lot of football, cricket and running the odd half marathon over the years and in the post ‘kids era’ running local teams in the community across many sports.

“I am really looking forward to my journey at InCrowd and aligning my true love for sport, both as a participant and a fan, with my experience in helping to build high growth technology and specifically data services enterprises” John says.

“Aligning these two passions makes this a really exciting proposition for me. What is truly exciting is to be part of a technology business that has already proven the value of it’s core proposition with multiple key global clients and partners, combined with the obvious need across all walks of life for successful, collaborative digital transformation to optimise customer experiences. I am really looking forward to joining the InCrowd team and being part of the continued growth story!!”

About John Beale
John has over 10 years of experience in the IT Managed Services and Telecoms sectors, working specifically in growing entrepreneurial businesses undergoing both organic and inorganic change. As an ACMA qualified accountant and graduate in Mathematics with Economics, John has held the position as CFO of Evoxus, Telinet and niu-solutions in VC backed, leveraged environments focusing specifically on understanding and delivering the corporate control and commercial understanding requirements of companies in high growth technology markets. John joined Mi-Pay in February 2011 as CFO and now joins InCrowd in a period of exceptional growth.

For more information, contact enquiries@incrowdsports.com

New Ulster Rugby website goes live

The new Ulster Rugby website is live!

We are delighted to announce that the new Ulster Rugby website is live!

A great team to work with, this is a club with huge aspirations for their digital platforms and the delivery of incredible experiences for their fans.

The launch of the website is the next big step in their digital transformation journey and we’re very happy to continue to work together to deliver great things in the future!

Read more about the project and take a look around the new site – just follow the link: Ulster.Rugby

InCrowd Welcomes Simon Thomas as Chairman

With significant growth in the UK and International markets in the last three years, InCrowd has appointed Simon Thomas, as Chairman of its Board of Directors. A leader in the evolution of commercial sports marketing during his time at TEAM Marketing, FIFA and Fox, Thomas will guide the Board and shareholders, whilst offering strategic advice and support to the senior management team.

“We are absolutely thrilled that Simon has agreed to join InCrowd as Chairman. His appointment adds to a number of new senior executive appointments we have made in the past year. The level of experience that Simon brings both in terms of his standing in the industry and as a specialist in organisational transformation and development, should turbo-charge our next phase of growth across multiple new territories .”

Thomas adds, “I have great respect for Aidan; as the founder of Opta Sports, he has a great track record and enormous experience in this area. At InCrowd he has built a strong team and the progression of the business in just 6 years is impressive. Product innovation to crack the digital challenge is paramount, along with client success and the creation of strong and trusted relationships. It’s an exciting era for the business and I’m very happy to join the team.”

Over the last 18 months, sport has seen a distinct acceleration in its digital transformation, as organisations realise the importance of truly knowing, connecting and engaging with fans on a deeper and personalised level through better use of first party data and premium fan facing platforms.

In response to this, InCrowd chose to focus on product development, ideating, building and delivering new and innovative solutions to respond to the rapidly changing requirements of clients and their commercial partners. Over the last 2 years, InCrowd has almost doubled in size to over one hundred team members, with 65% of the workforce focussed on R&D.

At the heart of InCrowd’s product innovation is their Customer Data and Experience Platform (CDXP), Bridge, a “one stop shop” for querying and using customer data to create personalised fan experiences across digital platforms via a best in class headless CMS and direct to fan content, messaging and engagement tools, all analysed across a range of tailored reporting suites.

“The very foundation of our business lies in our belief that fans are your greatest asset and that creating great digital experiences through high-quality fan facing platforms, data driven content & messaging and innovative activations is the most effective way to drive swift ROI.” says Cooney. “We empower clients to be bold in their digital and data transformations and support them fully at every stage of their journey. These are the organisations that are now reaping the rewards and we’re excited to help others reach their full potential.”

Thomas agrees;

“We are in an era of digital disruption, and clearly the industry is moving towards greater and more effective use of data. InCrowd are market leaders in this space. Everyone’s talking about the need to connect directly with fans and consumers, but at the moment it seems to be more talk than action. InCrowd are actually making things happen, facilitating monumental digital changes for their clients and demonstrating tangible returns, which is one of the things that sets them apart.”

About Simon Thomas
A sports industry veteran, Simon will take on the role of Chairman alongside his role of Partner at Colgan Bauer. An influential boutique firm, Colgan Bauer offers international sports strategy consultancy for many of the world’s top governing bodies, rights holders and investors. Prior to this, Simon was Chief Commercial Officer at FIFA, where he extensively restructured the digital and commercial teams. His further experience includes 15 years at TEAM Marketing, UEFA’s commercial agency for the development of UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League competitions in various roles culminating in Chief Executive Officer; and 3 years as EVP Global Sport and Content Sales at Fox where he acted on rights acquisitions for Fox Sports internationally and established a global content sales team selling entertainment, factual and sports content. Simon also established his own advisory agency, Talisman Sport & Media.

For more information, contact enquiries@incrowdsports.com

RLWC2021 takeover for Our League

The Rugby Football League, Rugby League World Cup (RLWC2021) and InCrowd and are thrilled to announce that RLWC2021 will stage a takeover of the Our League app this autumn.

The takeover will begin this month with regular Rugby League World Cup news being served to fans within Our League, as the final countdown to the tournament begins.

Then from mid-October, after the Betfred Super League and Women’s Super League Grand Finals, Our League will be devoted to the biggest ever celebration of Rugby League – as the Men’s, Women’s and Wheelchair World Cups take centre stage, bringing World Cup content to Rugby League fans all over the world.

All the Our League features – Match Centre, Player of the Match polls, the Predictor Game and much more – will be given an RLWC2021 makeover which will remain all the way through to Finals weekend in late November. With Our League already serving a membership of more than 190,000 League supporters, RLWC2021 will have a flying start in developing a regular conversation with Rugby League fans. Mark Foster, the RFL’s Chief Commercial Officer, said: “This is one of the most exciting partnerships since we launched Our League nearly four years ago.

RLWC2021 offers the sport of Rugby League its most exciting platform, and their takeover of Our League is the perfect way of bringing the tournament to life – both for existing loyal fans, and also the thousands of sports lovers who will be experiencing Rugby League for the first time.

We’ve spent the last four years working closely with InCrowd to develop Our League, ensuring it provides the features, information and rewards that Rugby League fans want, in an accessible and interactive way. The RLWC2021 takeover will take Our League to a new level – allowing new Rugby League fans on both sides of the globe to immerse themselves in our sport.”

B Hunter, RLWC2021 Digital and Content Director, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with the RFL and InCrowd in developing Our League for RLWC2021.

“The app will be the go-to source of information and entertainment for fans during the tournament. We encourage fans to download early to make sure they receive all the latest news, ticket and spectator information direct to their devices.”

“In this relationship with the RFL and InCrowd we are also proud to be able to make an investment back into the sport that will serve fans as a lasting legacy of the World Cup.”

Darren Parsons, InCrowd Senior Account & Insights Manager, said “We’re delighted to be able to support RLWC2021 by using the existing Our League platform to engage current users and those new to rugby league.

The Our League app has proven to be incredibly valuable in growing first party data for the RFL which has led to the delivery of rich and personalised content experiences direct to fans.

We’re very proud to work with both The RFL and RLWC2021 on this collaborative project and we’re excited to develop existing and new features for the tournament takeover and beyond, which will drive a boost in users and build on the already great legacy of Our League.”

Download the Our League app now!
Android – Google Play Store
iOS – App Store

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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