21st century fan experience for the latest generation of supporters, Seyu’s journey of becoming a solution that offers tremendous value for clubs
Time travel and a peek behind the curtains: how did it begin and where Seyu is heading to
“One of the most promising startups in the sport industry” – described our humble startup the editor of sportsmarketing.hu in an article. “20 startups to watch out for in 2020” – placing us in the spotlight in German the Hype Sports Innovation in its SPOBIS special edition magazine. Industry responses such as the above mentioned have enormous importance in any company’s life, we always listen closely to the feedback of our partners, potential partners and industry experts and we not only take extra motivation out of it but drive our business forward in a way that we can prove the utmost value for sport industry partners.
In the past two years we were consciously and tirelessly building our solution, our company and even ourselves up to always be able to take the next step on the journey of becoming a startup that can deliver tremendous value for sport industry partners Europe wide and globally. Besides keeping one eye on the destination and one on the road, it is good for companies and often advised to look back and revisit the goals that they reached and obstacles that they overcame to be reminded of the valuable lessons learned.
We weren’t short of ambitions and milestones either, not like much changed with us in that sense for today. We took the opportunity of looking back how things started with Seyu, how we got from long lonely nights of working to providing our service on world events in sport or how we got on the maps of European top football clubs and Global Sport Innovation Center by Microsoft, from our MVP to implementing AI in our solution and reaching the hearts of 2.6 million sport lovers with our solution hand in hand with our partners.
The lovechild of sport and technology
No matter if we look at US garage companies that became tech giants or family owned little businesses that grew to become European conglomerates, there is one thing that unites them: a unique idea that delivers value to many. Naturally the first steps of the building are always dependent on the expertise of the founders, their professional careers and their empirical knowledge gained through experience. It wasn’t much different in the case of Seyu either, we were first united by sport and later acquired knowledge in IT and sports marketing.
We were keen on combining our passion in these fields and to deliver value for many sports loving individuals around the world, such as we are. The idea came to us during watching a football match: the broadcasting camera was regularly showing happy fans in the stadium cheering, waving and smiling as they saw themselves on the giant screens in the arena. We started to think and pose questions like what if there would be a solution that enables fans to become part of their beloved teams’ matches on their own standards, in moments when they would love to be part of the match day show? How could fans say hello to the players and other fans in the stadiums with a selfie or message from anywhere in the world? Is there a solution out there already for this pain point?
There and then we laid down the basic concepts of our solution that since gave us and keeps giving us busy days and a great amount of joy. We are extremely happy to share all our tears and blissful moments with fifteen other sport loving colleagues at this stage and work for the greater benefits of our sport industry partners.
The goal: providing a match day experience for remote fans who are often over 99% of the whole audience
We started our work with a thorough market research, as finding validation for any good idea must start with knowing the target market inside out. We divided our focus between two fields, one was to see if there is already a solution that huge football clubs with an international fan base use to allow their fans to actively cheer for the team and become part of the match days. The other segment in our scope was the actual size of the market where we learned that we are talking about an extreme number of fans in front of TV broadcasts, 95 – 97% of the whole audience of top sport events are remote fans. For example, the last football World Cup final was watched by 78.000 fans in the stadium and 1.1 billion watched it on television or on streaming channels, meaning that 99.9% of the whole audience were remote fans.
Then we placed even more focus on the fan engagement segment of the sport industry and discovered that we found a niche on the market which was already open for digitalisation. At this phase we pinpointed the solution that we wanted to bring to live: a tool that could give an opportunity for all sport loving fans around the world to become part of their beloved teams’ matches with their supporter photos and motivating messages through a secure, reliable channel. No matter where they are in the world at the time of the matches, they can take selfies, add personal messages and post them on to the led screens in the stadiums with our help.
More than a fun activity: essential marketing tool for sports clubs and brands active in sport
Gifting the remote fans with a unique way of match day involvement we delivered value for only one stakeholder of the many in the sport industry, so we had to think about how we can add value to the lives of clubs and brands. From a sports business point of view our solution delivers much much more than meets the eye at first. Improving the in stadia match day entertainment of fans by displaying hundreds or thousands of gleeful supporter photos around the pitch only one of the many added values.
Seyu is a new marketing channel that supports a wide list of sales activities focusing on all consumers. Loyalty marketing or even sales increasing campaigns could be devised with the assistance of our solution. Our partners can further tailor their marketing strategies based on analytical reports that we deliver for them by extracting information from fan selfies such as the popularity of merchandise, consumer behaviour or even supporter chants likeability. In the same time Seyu takes the risk out of user generated content (UGC) for sport industry partners and allows them to share moderated, high-engaging, fan-generated, branded social media content on their sites. Fan selfies are proving to be a well-liked, high rates of activity delivering content on our partners’ channels.
More than 150 events and the same amount of lessons under our belt: strengthening our software and our team
We are continuously improving our solution and our business model, searching for ways that help us to deliver more and more value to our partners. However the most noticeable improvements in our company’s life were the number of events and their volume which started with XXI. IHF Junior Women’s World Handball Championships in the summer of 2018.
Handball fans were the first to enjoy our solution
Signing our very first partner was a milestone too that brings memories of pride in our minds, simply because it was one of the most popular and successful handball clubs in Europe, Telekom Veszprem. Shortly after start of testing our MVP in the Veszprem Arena we signed a deal with DVSC SCHAEFFLER, one of the powerhouses in the Hungarian women’s handball league. Since then we provided our service for these teams’ fans on 62 domestic and international events. Rewarding their trust in the early days of our solution, we regularly introduce our latest features on these teams’ matches as a special thank you from us to them.
We took a huge step in software development and in user experience improvement on the 2018 Junior Women’s World Handball Championships, it was the first event where we used our newly developed software, released a new Android application and lastly but not least we enabled all handball fans countrywide to cheer for the Hungarians on the court. In the second half of 2018 and in 2019 we were already supporting fan entertainment on both women and men national team matches. In May we reached the top of handball in Hungary and provided our solution on the EHF Women’s Champions League Final Four, organised by the Hungarian and European federation. This meant that fans not only in Hungary, but from Russia, France and Norway were able to post their selfies to the giant screens of Papp László Arena in Budapest. The cooperation was a huge success, involving thousands of fans around the world. Many special photos coloured up the event and the social media channels too, the team of Metz even learned that a seal was rooting for their victory alongside many fans.
Stepping up our game in football and on world events
Our partners’ and their fans’ satisfaction in handball opened the doors for us to test and improve our solution in football too. Our cooperation started with DVSC in 2018 and was followed by interest from the Hungarian record champion Ferencvarosi TC and MOL Fehervar FC, as a result of which the supporters of all these teams had their chances to enjoy Seyu’s solution in the past months. Beside the EHF Final Four event other world events organised in different sports were perfect for scaling our solution. For the 2018 UWW Wrestling World Championships we had our iOS application released, on this event selfies were posted from Germany, USA and Russia too. Fans similarly loved our solution on the ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships and on the FIE Fencing World Championships. Summarizing our activities on the Hungarian sport market, in little less than two years we displayed over 22.000 fan selfies on events and in social media, our content organically reached 2.641.000 users on Facebook as a result of 128.000 user interaction. Placing these numbers in a context that we managed to do this with only 4.600 followers on our official page. (There are 5.7 million Facebook users in Hungary.)
European market and positive feedbacks
The international events where our solution was available proved that Seyu resonated just perfect with fans and clubs outside of our test market too. Our target audience is simply limitless regarding geographics as fans love to show their beloved clubs and players their devotion everywhere in the world. On the other hand clubs and sport organizations are always open for a solution which helps them generate additional revenue by expanding their marketing portfolio and tapping into the spending power of remote fans either as part of loyalty marketing campaigns or by charging them for posting their selfies. Last autumn we started to visit some of the biggest events in football business such as the World Football Summit, Future of Football Summit and SPOBIS where we were able to get some feedback from the experts of top European football clubs. During these events we developed direct communication channels with clubs on the forefront of internationalisation and digitalisation. On top of all, the Global Sport Innovation Center by Microsoft which has a role of technological advisor to clubs like Real Madrid, Getafe CF, Real Sociedad and LaLiga itself, found that our solution is one that holds tremendous value for the XXI. century football industry and elevated our humble startup amongst its members.
For the international market we developed numerous sales concepts for our partners: for example, with Seyu’s solution the average six minutes added time advertisement period could generate over €20k revenue per match or even the already sold perimeter commercial platforms could deliver additional revenue in similar extent. Our goal is to secure partnerships with five clubs in three different countries and build on that foundation our international expansion. Our cloud based solution is automated in 98%, the remaining 2% human involvement comes from the reassurance of a content vetting system. The next step is further developing our AI assisted vetting system for a smoother, faster service that would see vetted and branded fan selfies posted in under 10 seconds after entering our system, reduced from the current 16 to 19 seconds.
A helping hand for the Spanish football struck by the coronavirus: ‘From good-to-have to must-have solution’
Out of hundreds of startups Global Sport Innovation Center by Microsoft has selected Seyu amongst 16 (!) startups offering innovative solutions that can provide significant help for the clubs of LaLiga Santander and the league itself in minimizing their loss, and in their rebuilding activities during and after the crisis. Just like everyone else, we will try to do our best to help people, businesses and sport associations.
Seyu is an IT solution that helps sport industry partners to generate more revenue on already sold commercial surfaces by building a desired emotional bridge between brands and fans. Executing this in a way that enables sport organizations to tap into the huge spending power of remote fans while generating a new kind of consumer data and accelerating their MARKETING-PR-CSR communications. Seyu is an easy to implement, 150+ events proven, AI assisted solution which is using sport industry partners’ already existing IT infrastructure to allow fans around the world, through a moderated channel, to post their photos on to the LED boards and other screens in the stadiums on matchdays, and share them instantly on social media in branded frames.