We live in an era where the amount of sports content available is not only vast, but it is also immediate. Within palm’s reach, any fan around the world with a mobile phone can tune into a live game, match highlights, videogames, or documentaries, just to name a few.
And given all of this can be done from one’s own home, football clubs find themselves having a hard time attracting fans into the stadium, which puts further stress on their ticketing revenue figures.
How can they increase fan engagement through the action of the live match?
Other than the game itself, the screens at the stadiums reveal themselves as a key element to make the experience of attending a game unique. For this reason, we were looking forward to having this conversation with the team at Yellowbricks Comunicación, a business that focuses on building such experiences for top-tier teams like Atlético de Madrid, Sevilla or Valencia, and that joined us for our latest edition of WFS Europe.
The conversation evolves around the role that the screens inside a stadium can have within the fan engagement strategy, trends, and even real use cases based on the football clubs they have worked with.
WFS: What is Yellow Bricks Comunicación and why does the world of sport need it?
YBCC: Yellow Bricks is a company with more than 16 years of experience in solutions for big screens in stadiums and fan engagement.
In 2006 we founded the business and we initially started with basketball. Seven years after, we thought we could introduce our pioneering work in the world of football. It was hard at first to be honest because we needed to give them visibility around a problem they were not aware they had.
In essence, clubs were not aware of the importance of giving a modern image to their stadiums, providing updates to fans during the game, and even giving them the possibility to engage with the content shown at specific moments of the match. They were missing out on new sources of extra income, at a time when the world of sports sponsorship was changing.
Our first football club was Granada CF. From there, teams of LaLiga liked our work and since that moment we have not stopped growing.
We now work with the likes of Levante UD, Sevilla FC, Real Betis, Valencia CF, Atlético de Madrid, Málaga CF, RC Celta de Vigo, Real Valladolid CF, Cádiz CF, Elche CF, and UD Ibiza.
We have provided them all with a four-way solution that is content-related, operative, and technological, that helps them drive revenue.
WFS: Is there something that makes you unique?
YBCC: Undoubtedly, our company has pioneered changes in the stadiums that traditionally had video scoreboards that only offered the minutes and results.
We provide the clubs with a different and personalized visual style, with every sign of identity carefully treated, statistics, the possibility of permanent actions with cameras, and the incorporation of brands in everything that involves the show.
WFS: One would assume people go to a stadium to experience the live action but why is the audiovisual content so important within the overall fan experience?
YBCC: Well, some years ago we opted for translating how content was shown on the screens of the sports stadiums in the USA to LaLiga, which implied adopting an appealing visual style and applying a trend that clearly came to stay.
We can develop games, karaoke anthems, awesome graphics, and fan cameras, which are a continuous request in current football stadiums. We also develop video scoreboard screens where fans expect replays, different content compared to TV, play with other fans, different camera angles, and more information.
Fans expect to feel different and unique. This is one of the reasons why we decide to buy a ticket or purchase a season ticket and go to the stadium.
WFS: In that sense, you “compete” with the mobile phone, social media, etc. to grab the fan’s attention, correct? How do you approach that competition?
YBCC: For us, there isn’t any competition, we see opportunities. The mobile phone can be an ally because we seek interactivity. We provide a complete solution to using phones as a tool to animate and be the protagonist.
So, we created the Fan Event App.
With this app, the fans can take amusing photos and appear on screens, use the mobile to animate or compete with games against other fans in the stadiums, at home and so much more.
WFS: What trends do you identify in the realm of audiovisual content within the stadium?
YBCC: Interactivity is the trend.
Connecting social networks with screens, games, information, and impressive graphics. The days of just showing the minute and result of the match with two team logos are over.
And there are still many clubs that continue to use the same design as 20 years ago. It does not make any sense.
WFS: What is the problem that these properties face and how do you help them solve it?
YBCC: The clubs run the sport, marketing, and communication aspects very well, but when you add the technological component, they need help factoring in the content, budgets and their income needs to justify the investment in the “fan experience at the stadium,” and that is exactly where we come in.
WFS: Can you share a specific example where you helped one of these properties?
YBCC: In 2015, Sevilla FC installed two new video scoreboards at The Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium. We provided a complete solution with our hardware.
We also gave them the software solution, we designed all the graphic contents and carried out the operations in each game. The result is that the club does not have to worry every day about anything related to video scoreboards contents because our company does it for them. A few years later, in 2018, they selected us to design the club´s season ticket campaign and it was a complete success. That same year we designed and programmed all the interactive and audiovisual content for the new club museum.
In another case, for example. When the new Atlético de Madrid Stadium was inaugurated, we designed an interconnected system to easily locate content on its new 360º ribbon.
This year, we have installed a system of 4K robotic cameras at the Málaga CF Stadium (La Rosaleda) to provide interactivity for the fans in the video scoreboards.
“When connectivity arrives in the stadium, we will witness a true interactive revolution, where the experience of attending a football match will be unique.”
WFS: Is there a football team that stands out as a “best in class” example of understanding the role that audiovisual content plays in the live fan experience?
YBCC: The first football team that opted to differentiate in audiovisual content across video scoreboards was Valencia CF. Together with them, we are always innovating and testing new ideas.
WFS: What is the future of this type of content within stadiums? Is it web 3 related?
YBCC: The main challenge is to get connectivity in the stadiums. That will be the next level.
When this happens completely, we will witness a true interactive revolution, where the experience of attending a football match will be unique.
WFS: And what is the future for Yellow Bricks Comunicación? Where do you want to be as a company in 5-10 years?
YBCC: We are working to continue innovating solutions that add value to clubs and fans. The future is exciting. We see ourselves making the leap to other countries and other leagues.
WFS: What value do you believe in-person events like this bring to the table?
YBCC: There is nothing like closely sharing our passion and our interests in this sport
This interview is featured in the latest edition of WFS Digest, our insider’s guide to the latest and most relevant thoughts and practices from within the football industry. You can subscribe to WFS Digest HERE.