A group of students from Swansea University took part in a Hackathon in collaboration with Swansea City Football Club, aiming to come up with a technological innovation that could drive new or increased revenue.
Working alongside the University’s Enterprise team, students were given just 48 hours to devise a pioneering solution that had the potential to generate club revenue and push Swansea City to the forefront of the tech innovation arena.
Pitches ranged from strategies to improve match-day entertainment and consumer access to service points, as well as ways of improving fan engagement through brand perception.
The group were also able to take their challenge directly into the field by attending the Swans’ Championship clash against Millwall at the Liberty Stadium in a bid to identify snags in real-time and ways to remove obvious match day barriers for fans, before presenting their ideas to a panel of club representatives.
In an industry where shirt sponsorship is the biggest single source of commercial income for a club, the sports entertainment landscape is relentlessly changing with improvements ranging from sporting operations including match day, digital media and app development, with consumer demand being the driving force.
Hackathons, while evident in many other industries, are relatively new within the football landscape with clubs such as Manchester City, Chelsea and Bayern Munich undertaking them.
Emma Dunbar, Head of Entrepreneurship at Swansea University said:
“At Swansea University we encourage all our students to act upon their entrepreneurial flair to enhance their own experience while with us and increase their employability or self- employment opportunities when they graduate.
“Collaborating with Swansea City AFC on this hackathon adds a further dimension to their experience and is a great way for students to think about developing innovative solutions to real-life commercial challenges. Our students have shown a natural aptitude for business and we know they have bright futures ahead of them.”
Kelly Jordan, Entrepreneurship Officer at Swansea University who led the Hackathon, said:
“The experience our students got is invaluable for their skill development as well as making new friends and business contacts along the way. We would like to thank Swansea City AFC for collaborating with us on this challenge and welcome collaboration from other businesses in the region.”
Mark Davies, Global Head of Partnerships and Sales for Swansea City AFC said:
“As a club that identifies a need to behave and grow differently to other football clubs, innovation will always be at the forefront of our operations.
“What the students worked on and presented to us, given the brief, short time frames and no external knowledge of our industry was of a really high standard, and they did Swansea University proud.
“Moving forward we will look to build on not only the events but also with many of the ideas presented to see how feasible it could be to take to market.”