Posted on February 15, 2017 by staff

Manchester City Hackathon ‘brings fans closer together’


Manchester City’s second hackathon event awarded its top prize to two teams who produced products aimed at bringing fans across the globe closer together.

Almost 60 participants from across the North West, Europe and the US attended the free event, which aimed to uncover innovative ways to reinforce a sense of community among City fans.

After becoming the first Premier League club to host a football hackathon last July, it was spurred on to host a second ‘opportunity to explore new ideas’ across the weekend of February 10.

Those taking part in #HackManCity included experts and students from the fields of technology, data, marketing, social media and digital product design.

Eventually, the top prize was split between the developers behind the ‘Cityzen Band’ and ‘Buddy Up’, who were awarded £5,000 each.

Following the event, Diego Gigliani, senior vice-president of media and innovation for City Football Group, commented: “We are delighted with the success of Manchester City’s second hackathon.

“Across the City Football Group, we’ve witnessed first-hand that great ideas can come from anywhere and this weekend showcased how much talent there is out there.

“During the hackathon we wanted to engage with our community to co-create new technologies and digital means of enhancing a sense of belonging and togetherness among our global fan base.

“Many insightful concepts and ideas were presented this weekend and we look forward to exploring some of these further.”

There were two tracks for successful applicants: the Cityzen Hack, which was designed for experienced individuals from those fields, and the Academy, for students and those new to hackathons looking to hone their analytical, design and marketing skills.

To kickstart their projects, all participants were provided with exclusive fan research and insights collated by the club’s in-house research team.

The detailed fan analytics captured data to inform participants of the needs of fans across the globe, and most of the ideas presented by 12 teams were smartphone apps.

Joint-winners The Cityzen Band, developed by Paul Jackson, Dawn Handelman, Sarah Batters, George Konstantakopoulos and Martin Scamell, is a form of wearable technology that connects fans digitally and physically via an armband linked to the City app.

The concept ensures fans can share club-related moments together from anywhere.

Buddy Up, the concept created by David Eiras, Xiao Fu, Sue Irving and Marlon Date-Chong, is a mobile app platform on which visiting global fans can connect with local fans for an authentic Manchester City experience.

Via the app, fans who live in Manchester can sign up to host visiting fans for their first trip to the Etihad Stadium. In return, the club rewards participants with matchday experiences and discounts.

Both teams were rewarded with a £5,000 cash prize provided by Manchester City and as the winning Academy team, Buddy Up also have an exclusive tour of Google’s London-based headquarters to look forward to.

Commenting on their success following the awards ceremony, the team who developed the Cityzen Band said: “Manchester City’s hackathon was an absolutely amazing experience.

“We really challenged ourselves across the weekend and we were delighted by how well we gelled as a team. The support we received from the experts on sight was invaluable and nothing was ever too much.

“It was an honour to work with such an innovative organisation as Manchester City and we will definitely be signing up for the next one.”

The team behind Buddy Up added: “We are all relatively new to hackathons and being able to combine our professions with our passions, whilst also working with an internationally recognised football club who understand how important it is for local and global fans to share their experiences, has been an unbelievable opportunity.”

Sue Irving and Carys Norfor were announced the weekend’s Players’ Players and two projects – Fanatomy and ROAR – were given special mentions for their innovative approaches to the task at hand.

Members of both teams received UBTECH robots as recognition for their work and creative concepts.