PAOK FC shows the way forward with an innovative new media strategy
A case study on the collaboration of Seyu and PAOK FC
PAOK FC is the pioneer football club in digital marketing in Greece, as they executed a new media strategy to connect with their constantly growing fan-base, without the help of big streaming and television companies. They have consciously been working on their online presence for years, and their unconventional strategy is a great success, so much so that other clubs are trying to follow their steps now. Part of the plans was to encourage fan engagement through innovative solutions, to further improve the already significant emotional bond between the team and its supporters. Seyu provided the club an effective, tailor-made solution that allows fans to be present at matches remotely and engage the community even further. PAOK’s example shows perfectly how a club can step on its own path in the field of digital marketing and create something exceptional with a leap of faith and incorporation of new technologies.
The new environment calls for forward-thinking methods and remote solutions
For the first season in PAOK’s history, Toumba Stadium was closed for fans, as the pandemic forced almost all sports events behind closed doors. As supporters were unable to attend the matches, ticket sales converged to zero, and stakeholders had to find a new way to engage the crowds and keep up their streams. Every club tried to team-up with popular TV channels to be able to stream their events, but after being contacted with an unfair offer, PAOK took the risk and went with their alternative idea: establishing their own streaming platform.
This D2C (direct to consumer) method counts as a novelty in Europe, and many local leaders considered it a great risk. Shortly after the launch, PAOK TV was nominated in 4 different categories at the SportsPro OTT Summit Awards, and left with one silver and one bronze medal. The scale of the success shows best if we take a look at their rivals for the prizes: UFC, Chelsea, LaLiga, and NFL. Panagiotis Aroniadis, PAOK’s director of new media finds that the pandemic made people more open to digital alternatives, and they are willing to learn new skills to access content on the web.
The Greek society has many traditions related to watching football. They usually gather in pubs or their homes, and turn on the TV to see the event. With this new setting, people (including pub owners and individuals alike) had to be educated to be able to log in to a platform, use the online payment function and enjoy the live stream. Thankfully the results show great interest in such innovative methods.
Seyu helped PAOK to further engage their fans and provide them a unique matchday experience
PAOK FC fans had the opportunity to support their team with selfies sent through the Seyu application. The photos were displayed on the pitchside LEDs of Toumba Stadium during multiple home matches of the team through the Greek Super League and Greek Cup. This way, fans could virtually express their devotion by appearing right next to the players. Thanks to this collaboration, PAOK FC incorporated brand new marketing channels activated by the campaign, and strengthened the emotional connection between fans and the brand. The selfies could also be posted on social media with a special black and white frame designed individually for the matches. As the team is active on various platforms, and pays extra attention to their Instagram channel, the success of the campaign showed in multiple metrics.
The collaboration broke records on Seyu’s platform
PAOK FC reached hundreds of thousands of fans on their Instagram channel, appeared in dozens of articles in the press, and received over 2000 selfies through Seyu’s application. Moreover, valuable data became available for the club, that they can use to enhance their future strategy, and engage even more people than before. The largest active age group was 18-39 year olds, 35% of all participants. Studies show that this age group is the financially strongest of all generations, they are considered the true engine of the global economy. As the majority of the fans were smiling on the photos, showing with their friends or family, the collaboration definitely bound the experience with happiness in the minds of supporters. It communicates to the world that supporting PAOK FC comes with a joyful lifestyle. However there was a result that meant the most to the club: a huge update to their CRM database. More than 1600 new email addresses were collected from the fans upon registration to the Seyu app. These users have all marked PAOK as their favorite team, highlighting the special bond they share with the club. A CRM system essentially provides a place where these email addresses can be stored, and stakeholders can track customer interactions and share this information with colleagues to organize and automate interactions. It allows them to manage relationships with consumers, helping the team to grow their fan-base further and engage the support of the crowds.
Sponsors also started to migrate to the digital field to keep supporting the sport
As the pandemic hit the world, sports clubs and their sponsors were equally affected. They were forced to come up with new forms of partnerships that are not only viable in the new settings but also fully transferable into digital ones. Luckily, Seyu is able to offer opportunities for both sides. One of PAOK’s home matches against AEK was sponsored by Stoiximan, a popular online betting site. All the selfies taken through Seyu’s app were equipped with a branded frame, featuring both PAOK and Stoiximan. With multiple thousands of impressions the collaboration reached its target audience and engaged wider circles to participate in a fan activation.