Archive for December, 2011

The Match Day Experience: a Social Media trial goes live

Twitter on a City Square big screen

#blueview tweets on a City Square big screen

If, at first,  you don’t succeed… then trial trial trial again. Or, learn from your mistakes, try again with a different approach and have a lot of fun with the second go. That’s what the phrase should be.

Ten days ago I wrote about the experiment we ran with getting tweets live onto screens at the Etihad stadium on a match day. An experiment in using social media, twitter in particular, to engage football fans in the run-up to a Premier League match – integrated into our pre- and post-match entertainment schedule. It was a good experiment in that it showed up lots of the challenges.

Last weekend, when MCFC played Norwich City, we gave it another go. 

This time, rather than showing a conversation between two selected fans, we implemented a filtered twitter-stream based around the hashtag #blueview.

We had Mass Relevance’s Tweetriver auto-filtering the ‘fire-hose’ of twitter, and we set it to reject RTs, tweets containing links and profanity. All tweets were held for moderation. With some things it’s better to be safe than sorry – especially if you’re just getting it off the ground.

Tweets stacked on screenTweets were displayed in a ticker-tape when there was live video going out – and in a stack when there was no action on-stage in the pre-match entertainment. We specifically focused on 1pm – 2.30 pm and 5pm – 6pm in order to avoid connectivity issues – but, of course, that means we missed the bulk of the audience.

Where were the fans?

  • on their way to the stadium
  • across the world
  • in City Square
  • inside the Stadium

How did they use it?

  • Opinion
  • Well wishes
  • Jokes
  • Birthdays
  • Banter
  • Interaction with presenters
  • Abuse (non fans)

Fan feedback was excellent. Lots of people were delighted to get involved and have a voice. User Generated Content, eh? It doesn’t always have to be citizen journalism.


      • Tweets using #blueview: about 2,000
      • Percentage published: 21%
      • Percentage rejected: 43%
      • Remaining awaiting moderation: 36%

This 43% of rejections was largely made up of RTs and mentions. Those awaiting moderation are partly made up of duplicate messages where people repeated themselves or others, but also shows us that if we want to get more through the system, we need to speed up/add some resource to the moderation process.

The split of pre/post match tweet volume was 2/1.

Users: we identified just under 1,000 individual twitter authors.

Fans' tweets on the big screen behind the City Square stage

To put this into context, the stadium capacity is 47,700 seats.  An estimated 25,000 pass through the Square on a match day (although many will be immediately prior to kick-off) and the City Square capacity is around 5,000. The number of people who would have been in City Square more than an hour before the game would be in the region of a few hundred at any one time. So, it is reasonable to assume that although the factor of people tweeting to see themselves come up on the screen will have played a part, with 1,000 twitter authors, factoring in the penetration of smartphones (c31% in general population) overlayed with the usage profile of twitter… it shows that there’s some desire from people who aren’t at the stadium to take part in the atmosphere of the day.

So, will we do it again?

Yes. In fact, we just did at the Bayern Munich game. Will we do it consistently from now on? It seems like a good idea – the use of social media, smartphones and twitter is likely to rise, but the key factor is whether the fans want it.

What’s next? More experiments, more failures, more learning, more trials, more successes.

Any thoughts or comments are always welcome – either in the comments below or via @mcfcgeeks or mcfcgeeks @

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This is the official blog of the digital and media team at MCFC.

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