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How FK Željezničar revolutionises fan engagement in the Balkan region

A case study on a collaboration with the most innovative and forward-thinking club of Bosnia Herzegovina

FK Željezničar aims to be a pioneer in digital fan engagement in the Balkan region by implementing a new media strategy to target the growing fan base within and outside of the country. The club aims to modernise its digital presence by incorporating new solutions to strengthen the emotional bond between fans and the team. Thanks to the innovative approach of the new management and Seyu’s digital solutions, supporters of the club were able to cheer at important matches remotely and express their support through branded selfies. Seyu used the club’s already installed IT infrastructure like giant screens and LED boards to feature the photos, which can be sent in using the Seyu mobile app. Loyalty marketing campaigns and merchandise of VIP fan gear and photo experiences are also part of the collaboration

The combination of these methods means an all-encompassing digital media strategy, prepared to present innovation into the region

Recognising the importance of digitalisation and its consequences has become a necessity in recent years, as the phenomenon presents itself in all markets throughout the globe, including west and south-west Europe. Football clubs and league bodies are thoroughly transferring their fan experience online and are looking for new ways of engaging digital audiences. The pandemic summoned an even greater interest in new solutions, as the ban on real-life presence resulted in loss of engagement and revenue for most clubs. With the increased awareness and attention towards safety, clubs had to invest more and more on technology. But even though there’s a variety of digital advancements already in practice, fans only seemed to be hungry for novelty. Seyu’s software makes it easy to give a greater voice to those who cannot attend games at the time. Such solutions are the engine of recovery from the crisis, while they are also strengthening the emotional bond between the clubs and their fans, through activation and involvement of the audiences. The method will remain beneficial after the pandemic as well, ensuring the chance of remote participation for fans that can not make it to a match, even when the regulations allow it.

FK Zeljeznicar - Seyu

Seyu also helps to connect the global fan base effortlessly

FK Željezničar is one of the oldest clubs from Ex-Yugoslavia, with a lengthy history and unique heritage, planning to become the leader of innovation in the region. Offering an opportunity to unite for Bosnian supporters was one of the main ambitions of the club’s newly elected chairman, Samir Ceric. Being the most successful club of the Balkan, the location of the supporters exceeds the borders of the country. The partnership allowed fans to virtually enter Grbavica during the matches, bringing the global fan base together on the screens. This milestone also scales Seyu’s presence in a part of the world where football is considered a way of life rather than a sport.

However, borders were not the only obstacle to be faced. Major sources of revenue were stripped away by the pandemic. 

In the previous years, season tickets and experience-based match day sales meant a stable basis for most football clubs. However, Covid-19 forced leaders to reconsider their strategies, and rely on targets that can be completed without the physical presence of crowds. FK Željezničar was also pressured into seeking new, innovative ways of keeping their fans’ attention and contribution. Together with Seyu, they introduced a new tactique to the region, setting an example to all the other clubs. The goals of the advanced strategy include increasing the number of followers on various social media channels and creating new streams of revenue on already sold commercial surfaces by monetizing the remote fan base directly. The digital revolution in football is in full swing, and clubs are balancing the financial demands of their competition with the need to engage with fans as well as innovating on the pitch by running social media campaigns and developing merchandising strategies. Being the first club to launch a new sports tech solution via Seyu in the region puts FK Željezničar in an advantageous position. The technology combines branded merch with marketing campaigns and engagement, resulting in a special combination of targeted revenue. The move is expected to expand FK Željezničar’s marketing portfolio, brand awareness and sponsorship opportunities by entertaining remote fans and delivering moderated, user generated social media content.

The results can be measured in multiple ways, other than revenue.

Exact numbers are yet to be received, but the Seyu photos submitted on FK Željezničar social media channels reportedly reached over 180 thousand users organically, which is over 90% of the club’s current follower count. Aside from the direct reach and revenue, the club will also receive extremely valuable consumer data, which later can be used to measure engagement levels and merchandising success. This contributes to possible adjustments of Seyu’s services throughout the series of events. Modifications based on these metrics will help to drive more sales for the club, while also providing a base for future campaigns. Important conclusions can also be deducted based on demographic data of the users, which can help target future campaigns with even higher precision.

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