#HackManCity winners focus on digital engagement

Manchester City hosted the club’s second hackathon, which focuses on digital fan engagement and how to bring City fans from across the globe closer together.

According to the club the free event attracted hundreds of applicants, with 57 individuals from across North West, Europe and the US made it through to the weekend challenge, which aimed to uncover ways to reinforce a sense of community among City fans spread across the world.

Manchester City was the first Premier League club to host a football hackathon last July and following the success of the first event, the club created another opportunity to explore new ideas and engage with fans and the wider community.

The hackers who took part in #HackManCity included experts and students from the fields of technology, data, marketing, social media and digital product design. 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 kick start 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.

Twelve teams formed across the weekend and mobile apps were the order of the day. The two winning ideas were from the developers behind the Cityzen Band and Buddy Up.

The Cityzen Band, developed by the team comprising of Paul Jackson, Dawn Handelman, Sarah Batters, George Konstantakopoulos and Martin Scamell, is a form of wearable technology that connects fans digitally and physically with an arm band connected to the City App. The concept ensures fans have the ability to share every City moment together no matter where they are, be that in the stadium, at home or even in the middle of the meeting.

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 and in return the club rewards participants with matchday experiences and discounts.

Both teams were rewarded with a £5000 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.

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: “It is such a fantastic feeling to be the winners of Manchester City’s second hackathon. 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 for all of us.”

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.”