OMNIGON Launches Fan Engagement Platform Built To Reach The Evolving Sports Fan
// SportTechie

With the recent launch of its mobile-first, sports-focused fan engagement platform Corebine, OMNIGON might just be revolutionizing the way sports leagues and teams communicate with their fans.

Unveiled publicly at last week’s Leaders Sports Business conference in London, the newly introduced Corebine provides businesses with an evolutionary content and fan engagement platform, after successful initial launches with CONCACAF, the Champions Hockey League and One World Observatory.

For years, OMNIGON has designed and delivered digital experiences for partners including the PGA TOUR, NASCAR, FOX Sports, FC Bayern Munich and the Rugby World Cup to name a few, albeit on platforms that required extensive backend support and design. Platforms that weren’t designed for the evolving sports fan, in particular.

Launches sometimes took as many as six months – eons in the lightning fast technology age – and required huge investments.

Seeing a gap in the marketplace, OMNIGON Vice President of Products, Nick Arcuri, said in a recent interview, the OMNIGON team set out to fill the void.

“Things haven’t been built for sports, and they’re not built for mobile,” Arcuri said. “We’ve been retrofitting, trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. The market has been trying to catch up.”

Much of what OMNIGON has offered as a digital strategies provider has been in designing and developing both mobile applications and Web sites. Arcuri said the goal with Corebine was to streamline both the design-and-launch process and the ease of content distribution.

At the Leaders conference, the launch was a hit particularly with soccer clubs who are embracing the shift of the consumer toward mobile devices.

“We’ve come a long way in a few years,” said CONCACAF Director of Digital Products and Emerging Technologies, Jean Jimenez, who helped launch Corebine at Leaders as one of the first brands to be on the platform. “Millennials don’t necessarily consume sports the way we’re used to. The phone is now not a second-screen, but a primary screen or a companion during the watching of a match. This is not a four-or-five-year shift were seeing. This is an ongoing evolution of the fan experience.”

CONCACAF used Corebine for both its Gold Cup website and its inaugural CONCACAF League site; the first took roughly 60 days to prepare for launch – versus the 180 days it typically takes with extensive coding – and the second took roughly two weeks.

Jimenez said that advancement in speed was critical, as was the mobile-first approach that could set the standard in the industry.

“From what we’re seeing in the industry in terms of trends of fan consumption, our properties are consumed 70 percent on mobile,” Jimenez said, “And try to develop content that is built for a 16-by-9 screen and try to fit that into a 5-inch screen that might not be vertical.”

For Jimenez and CONCACAF, the proof has been in the numbers. For recent Gold Cup video content, their team shot video in both 16-by-9 and 1-by-1, social media-ready format.

“There was a 20-percent increase if fans didn’t have to flip their phones,” he said. “The trend is really moving toward the mobile experience. It’s not even 90/10. … The iPhone is only 10 years old. What was the trend back then? Blackberry. Every professional owned a Blackberry, and they decided to hone in on a niche, betting that people wanted that QWERTY keypad, that there was no need to transition to touch screen. You had the most relevant company that within 10 years is out of business and outdated, because they decided not to evolve.”

This evolution is at the core of OMNIGON ’s strategy, Arcuri said.

OMNIGON rolled out a series of fan engagement tools, known as ProSuite, within the last two years. Now with its release of Corebine, which is future-proofed so it is easily adaptable to future hardware, OMNIGON is hoping to attract new teams and leagues in all sports, and even companies outside of sports.

“When we do roll out a new sport, we thought about exactly that: What does a football fan want versus an American football fan?” Arcuri said. “What’s the difference between them? How do they interact differently? Our site is built for sports, and we’ve taken care to think about which data is shown at the right time, even in that particular user’s language.”

Jimenez said that customization ability has been critical to CONCACAF, which introduced the wildly popular Man of the Match feature, which gives fans the control over picking the match’s best player. Jimenez, who hails from a television and media background, sees that kind of fan experience as being the future of sports.

“It gave fans ownership, and that was a game-changer,” Jimenez said of the Man of the Match feature. “In having conversations with sponsors, the lingering question is, what is your plan for digital? One of the things I raised today at a panel was if you don’t learn from your audience, you’re never going to reach them. People want more interactivity, more decision-making. We can position ourselves as not only content owners, but also serve the fan.”

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To learn more about Corebine, click here.