Established in 1880 in Manchester, England, Manchester City FC has a long footballing history and heritage and has established itself as one of the leading clubs in the English Premier League. On a global scale, as part of the City Football Group, Manchester City now works in partnership with New York City FC, Melbourne City FC and Yokohama F. Marinos.
In recent years Manchester City has led the way in developing the service it provides to its supporters, placing a keen emphasis on improving match day experience and increasing fan engagement, whilst simultaneously investing in facilities to assist players, coaches and staff across the entire group.
Tripleplay was chosen to provide a digital signage and IPTV management distribution system around Manchester City’s entire property estate, including the Etihad Stadium, Etihad Training Campus and City Football Academy and corporate offices at New York City FC, USA, and Melbourne City FC, Australia.
The solution would allow Manchester City to manipulate individual screens or zones and control via web browser and iPad globally or locally. They required the solution to enable them to deliver bespoke content to reception areas, executive boxes, restaurants, concessions stands, external and internal jumbo screens and televisions in the stadium concourse; more than 1000 screens in total.
Manchester City also wanted the solution to integrate with on-site media production facilities, allowing them to broadcast onsite pre-recorded and live content across the Tripleplay digital signage and IPTV network to their various office locations, in the UK and around the world.
Manchester City uses a complex hybrid of content sources for its digital signage network, creating content in the Tripleplay Content Management System (CMS), TV production studio, an outdoor staging area, live broadcast free-to-air and satellite TV, live camera streams from the training ground and pitch, from 3rd party statistics engines and data from Agilysys Electronic Point of Sale (EPOS) systems.
Tripleplay has enabled Manchester City to take all of these sources and deliver them to each and every one of the 1000+ screens on site, either as a full screen content item or as part of a digital signage layout; they have full flexibility to deliver this content in its most appropriate format and to any group of screens.
Manchester City’s Director of Sales, Services and Operations, Danny Wilson commented; “On a match day it’s all about how we can engage different segments of our match day fan base in different ways, communicating different messaging to them, relevant information, key stats, scores from around the grounds that really give them an enhanced experience on a match day and make it all more meaningful as well for them.
“We’re fortunate here at Manchester City, we’ve got a fan zone outside the stadium, we’ve got a lot of hospitality areas and we’ve got nice open concourses within the stadium as well. But within those areas of the stadium we’ve got different groups of fans, we’ve got families in one stand, we’ve got our more vocal support in another area, all the hospitality areas are different and we have different types of supporter in those spaces who want different things, from meeting former players to getting seats on the half way line or seats behind the goal.
“I think through the use of technology and a platform like Tripleplay we have the opportunity to communicate more child friendly messages in the family stand as an example, play out different content that they like, that appeals to them so it’s relevant and they don’t turn off; it’s continually enhancing that match day experience for them.”
Working with Tripleplay, Manchester City is able to pull all of its digital services under one ‘umbrella’ solution, creating less complexity and simpler management and operation. Manchester City’s choice has also ensured the benefits of the flexibility and scalability of the Tripleplay solution is shared by other non-Tripleplay services; all visual and audio digital media can now be delivered to any single unique screen or group of screens to any area of the stadium and training ground.
Because Tripleplay’s next generation platform delivers a variety of services, digital signage, IPTV, digital menus, interactive hospitality TV portals, mobile streaming and sports applications, it has enabled Manchester City to deliver technology to multiple departments within the club.
Owing to Tripleplay’s hardware agnostic approach, Manchester City has the opportunity to enhance and develop as technology does. Whilst initially content was delivered at 720p, the club was able to upscale to 1080p with a simple hardware swap in key areas of the ground. Likewise, the Tripleplay system can deliver 4k, so as and when Manchester City is ready for that step, the Tripleplay platform will be ready to support this with virtually no additional investment and a simple software upgrade.
The importance of digital content to Manchester City on match days has grown alongside the solution, it has become a key part of engaging supporters, and as such they cannot afford the system to be offline for any length of time. The fact that Tripleplay offers the ability to cluster servers offering instant fail over is something that is seen as key to the project’s success.
Danny Wilson concluded; “I think Tripleplay provide a platform that everybody at the football club feels is the right platform for the football club at this point in time. We have got over 1000 screens on the Tripleplay network at the moment, that’s going to grow with stadium expansion, with the growth of the football club, and Tripleplay have got the desire and aspirations to grow alongside us as well and continue to support us.”