Transforming Game Days with Powerful Social Media

Edgbaston is a unique business; we are a world-class sports stadium that is home to three well-established cricket teams/brands (England Cricket, Birmingham Bears and Warwickshire County Cricket Club) and we are also a very successful operations business that delivers conference and events, hospitality, retail and event ticketing. Given our set-up, our operational scope can drastically vary in-terms of the number of fans in the stadium, the operational staff we have on duty and the number of facilities we open on a game day.

The Structure of our Communication

To make social media communication manageable our game days are broken down into scripts; pre-game, in-game, interval/break in play and post-game. These scripts will composite multiple data sources, media assets and narratives and they all need to be simultaneously broadcasted through our content network; big screens, IPTV, website, email and social media. While our stadium capacity is a healthy circa 25,000, a game like India vs Pakistan or England vs Australia will have a global audience of millions, and we need to ensure that we fulfill our commitment as key stakeholders in these games and inform our audiences accordingly.

Pre-Game

Through our Pre-game scripts (which actually happens up to 48 hours before the match through web, social and email) we want to signpost our fans to our facilities and encourage early arrival to the stadium. Commercial benefits aside, the point of this is to reduce queue time and provide a better customer experience, because fundamentally that’s the game we’re in – we can’t control the variables out on the pitch, but we can control our environment and the facilities we provide, both of which directly influences our fans’ perceptions of a having had a good day out at Edgbatson. Pre-game is also an import time to inform our fans of the narratives that are set to play out in the game; upcoming player milestones, consequences of the result and any breaking news that might impact our fans journeys into the stadium.

In-Game

The nature of sports (particularly cricket which is subject to the weather) means that predicting what will happen is virtually impossible – the best that we can do is to ensure we are prepared for as many variables as possible so that we can react to live events in game. This means that we have to pre-empt any milestones that may be reached and often we are over-producing assets for games just in case something happens.

Video replays and highlights have started to play a bigger part in our production as they offer non-attending fans the opportunity to be part of the game, and our commercial partners can also be part of the cut-through with this fan engagement.

For major matches we also need to listen out for third-parties like tournament sponsors, broadcasters and high-profile figures, who may post something on social media that we need to jump on and share through our own channels. In these instances we find the SocialSignIn inbox and listening tools to be absolutely vital.

Post Match/Intervals

The natural punctuations that occur in cricket (breaks in play – lunch, tea, rain delays, bad light delays) offer a great space to update our fans on the current state of play and reflect on the narrative of the game so far. These intervals also offer the opportunity for our commercial partners to own moments of exclusivity, whether that is a post-match interview or an end of play report, providing our partners the chance for clear cut-through to our fans is an important part of our match script.

Feedback

Once our game is over, typically 48 hours post-event, we need to count-back our assets and review the success of our communications, which helps inform our communications and decisions leading into our next fixture. Professional sports, like any other business, is all about continual improvement and refining our processes to be the best in class. At Edgbaston we work on a mantra of; Passion, Preparation and Performance. This workflow is what we believe has helped us grow and develop the way we talk to our fans over the past few years.

Working with a partner like SocialSignIn has helped us to deliver our passion through their incredible software. They’ve also helped shape the way that we operate as a business by introducing us to other clients that are also the best in their class. SocialSignIn is also constantly developing, reassessing and looking for new and more efficient ways to operate. We’re very proud to call SocialSignIn a partner and that’s what cricket is really all about; teamwork and partnerships.   

Edgbaston has been nominated for a BT Sport Industry Awards for Entertainment Experience of the Year 2018.  They have also been allocated one of its best programmes of major match cricket for the period covering 2020 to 2024, in addition to being named as a host venue for the England & Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) new Twenty20 competition.

 


About the Writer:

Sean Miller is Head of Content at Edgbaston, and has a wealth of experience in managing and creating digital content. An Open University graduate, Sean has been working in cricket for almost 7 years. Sean also dabbles in graphic design and video production.

If you’d like to connect on LinkedIn click here or follow him on Twitter @_seanmiller