How Bayern Munich upgraded its apps with a global mindset
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In recent years, major football clubs with large domestic and international fan bases have had to quickly adapt to the digital engagement their supporters demand. Not only do they need to constantly deliver the latest stats and information about the club, but they also need to provide original digital content that can be consumed easily and keeps supporters coming back for more; all while understanding that the fans they are engaging live in every time zone around the world.
FC Bayern Munich—which has won 26 national titles and 18 national cups (Pokal)— is one of the most successful clubs in German football history and one of the top clubs in the world. But to keep up with the challenges of engaging a global and digitally savvy fan base, Bayern has launched a new suite of iOS and Android smartphone and tablet apps.
To execute the launch of these new apps, coinciding with the new Bundesliga season, Bayern’s digital team turned to Omnigon, a leading sports digital services firm.
“We are very happy with our app partner Omnigon,” Stefan Mennerich, Bayern Munich’s director of media, digital & communications, said in a statement. “We chose to work with them because they are the absolute benchmark for app-providers in the sports industry, and they have maintained that standard throughout the whole project with us.”
The features of the new apps include a Match Center with full match statistics, scores, news and photo galleries. Furthermore, there is a squad page with detailed statistics and full profiles of all Bayern players.
There are also some interesting new elements that Omnigon and Bayern will be adding to the apps very soon. These include personalization capabilities, polls, sweepstakes and ability to deliver content based on “fan context”—whether they are on the go, watching on TV, or attending the live match.
Additionally, Bayern supporters around the world will also be able to utilize Bayern’s TV hub to access club highlights and post-match interviews. And perhaps the most inclusive feature of the new app is the “Webradio,” which will allow the millions of global Bayern fans to listen to all of the club’s matches.
The current soon-to-launch features all contain a global mindset demonstrating how Omnigon and Bayern approached the new apps. “We’ve worked very closely with the Bayern digital team and formed a real partnership,” Omnigon CCO David Nugent said. “Bayern has one of the largest fan bases in the world so we understood how important it was to create an experience that would resonate all over the globe. We’re excited the passion our team brought to this product will be in the hands of FC Bayern fans worldwide.”
For Omnigon, this collaboration with Bayern is now added to a long list of major sports brands they have worked with, including the PGA TOUR, NASCAR, FOX Sports and the Miami Heat.
This app launch between Bayern and Omnigon stood out to us as a unique digital collaboration between a global club and agency and we spoke to Nugent in more depth about it:
SportTechie: Please describe the process of working closely with the Bayern digital team to launch this app. What was the day-to-day project management process? Who on the Bayern side worked with who on the Omnigon side?
David Nugent: All our engagements go through strategic planning and requirements gathering sessions when the project kicks off. We have an agile but pretty rigorous business requirements protocol that ensures that our clients receive solutions that achieve their goals. Our core project team—including a digital products specialist, a project owner, and design and tech leads—worked in tandem with various stakeholders at Bayern Munich, most notably their head of digital.
ST: Were there any challenges presented by creating a suite of apps for Bayern’s international brand and supporters who speak numerous languages?
DN: In Europe we’ve focused on project team members who speak multiple languages. In this case the London-based project manager is a native German speaker, having been born and raised there. He also happens to be a diehard Bayern fan, which greatly helped us greatly as we were going through the functionality and feature requirements as well as the overall design process.
ST: What kind of resources does Omnigon commit to a project like this?
DN: More than 25 employees were involved in this project across multiple disciplines—client engagement, project management, business analysis, UX / UI design, solutions architecture, iOS and Android development, implementations and quality assurance.
ST: Ultimately this new suite of apps was built with the fans in mind. What new features are you most excited to help offer Bayern fans that they have not had before?
DN: One of the primary objectives was to design an experience that would resonate with Bayern’s fans around the world. We are probably most excited about the live match center functionality, providing fans with live match commentary, match statistics and video highlights, among other features they’ve not seen before. As part of phase two, the personalization and contextual features will be quite innovative and groundbreaking.