THE ECONOMIST GROUP, London / SIEMENS / 2021
In partnership Siemens and FC Bayern have been working with The Economist Group’s data design practice Signal Noise, exploring how data can reveal hidden connections between football fans and players. The award-winning 2018 ‘Reimagine the Game’ project explored fan energy through sound. For a second season our goal was to explore fan energy in new dimensions.
Siemens wished to showcase their capabilities as innovators and demonstrate how they are using data to transform and reimagine the world. The brief was to continue exploring the connection between FC Bayern football fans and the players, re-engineering the fan experience and helping supporters transmit their energy and passion to the team.
The objectives were to create an engaging piece of data-driven storytelling that celebrates the partnership between Siemens and FC Bayern whilst engaging football fans and the technology community to associate Siemens with innovation in data analytics.
Data is everywhere in sport with much focusing on optimizing team performance. To make sure fans were at the centre of this project and show the trust and intimacy of the relationship between Siemens and FC Bayern, we wanted to get under the skin of supporters and reflect their emotions.
Wherever they are watching, fans are the heart of football so we used data to keep them connected to the players during the pandemic. By taking the pulse of 300 fans over the 2020/21 season, we used data to reveal their true feelings for the game, applying computer vision to calculate match intensity based on the collective speed of players and action near the goal. Side by side we can look for patterns in the intensity, passion and excitement of matches.
With FCB Pulse, everyone can replay FC Bayern games and explore the ebb and flow of matches through data.
Our original idea for data gathering was to hand out heart rate monitors in stadiums. However after the pandemic hit no fans were allowed in stadiums and we had to rethink the strategy.
FC Bayern have fan clubs all over the world and we tapped into that network to bring participants onboard so they could get involved from the comfort of their homes. Each participant was sent a Fitbit to wear during the games and asked to sync the data with our system once the game ended.
By measuring the biometric data and combining it with computer vision to calculate match intensity, based on the speed of players and action near the goal, we captured the intensity and excitement of games. From this we quantified the connection between fans and players, revealing the unseen rhythms to the game and creating the FC Bayern Pulse.
The initiative is still ongoing with more fans and matches being tracked through May but phase one of the partnership was very successful with 62k unique visitors to the website, 68k total visits and 149k page views.
The audience to date has also been highly engaged with the data with over 288k interactions with the data tool.
The partnership has also generated 275 items of coverage. These include 570 Siemens brand mentions associated with ‘innovation’ and ‘digitalisation’ and 270 views of the first brand video.
Combined it had a daily audience reach of over 37 million people.
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