Thursday August 4th, 2016

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Professional sport leagues and teams understand that today’s youth are the future of branding and Arsenal is attempting to create a new generation of fans with a new app.

On Tuesday, Arsenal announced its youth-first app on iOS and Android in association with its “Junior Gunners” membership. Arsenal already has 36,500 Junior Gunner members, but it is hoping the app will attract more youth to the club and create lifelong supporters.

“Our young fans are the fans of the future,” Anne-Lise Johnsen, Arsenal’s youth product manager, said in a statement. “Football supporters tend to choose their team at a very young age so we hope by launching this app that when kids come to choose their team hopefully they will choose Arsenal.”

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The app will feature leaderboards and two games: Pocket Player, a player challenge mini-game where a user feeds, trains and rests an Arsenal player avatar; and Squad Boss, a football manager-style platform where Arsenal fans manage their own six-a-side team throughout a season. The app will also give users the ability to create their own avatar and receive updates about the real-life team.

Koko, the digital agency responsible for developing the Junior Gunners, created the app with a focus on connectivity with the club.

“A few years ago we identified a bit of a gap in the market for our young fans ... especially globally,” Johnsen said in a statement. “We recognized that not everyone can come to matches or our monthly events as a Junior Gunner, so we wanted to give them a bit more Arsenal through either their phone or tablet.”

Of course, the main issue with creating a youth-first app is safety. However, the Junior Gunners app’s connectivity is completely internal, which limits interaction with strangers and restricts in-app purchases.

“We took inspiration from the main Arsenal app. This new app is part of a family of apps, it is not a separate tool,” Johnsen said. “Part of Junior Gunners’ engagement strategy is around experiential, events, competitions and videos so the key here was to offer all of that within the app.”

Ultimately, Arsenal is hoping that simple games can create lifelong connections between fans and the team.

“We hope the app will elevate the experience and engagement the club has with our fans of the future,” Johnsen said.

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