Manchester City's Tripleplay digital signage and IPTV management distribution system is not just engaging supporters at its own ground, but delivering video to coaches across its entire estate, both in the UK and further afield. This installation was a finalist in the Best Project Award – Audience Venues category in this year's InstallAwards.
Manchester City Football Club has a long footballing history and heritage – it was founded in 1880 – and has established itself as one of the leading clubs in the English Premier League. On a global scale, as part of the City Football Group, Manchester City now works in partnership with New York City FC, Melbourne City FC and Yokohama F. Marinos.
In recent years Manchester City has led the way in developing the service it provides to its supporters, placing a keen emphasis on improving match day experience and increasing fan engagement, while simultaneously investing in facilities to assist players, coaches and staff across the entire group.
Tripleplay was chosen to provide a digital signage and IPTV management distribution system around Manchester City’s entire property estate, including the Etihad Stadium, Etihad Training Campus and City Football Academy and corporate offices at New York City FC, USA, and Melbourne City FC, Australia.
The solution would allow Manchester City to manipulate individual screens or zones and control via web browser and iPad globally or locally. The club required the solution to enable bespoke content to be delivered to reception areas, executive boxes, restaurants, concessions stands, external and internal jumbo screens and televisions in the stadium concourse – more than 1,000 screens in total.
Manchester City also wanted the solution to integrate with on-site media production facilities, allowing onsite pre-recorded and live content to be broadcast across the Tripleplay digital signage and IPTV network to its various office locations, in the UK and around the world.
Manchester City uses a complex hybrid of content sources for its digital signage network, creating content in the Tripleplay content management system (CMS), TV production studio, an outdoor staging area, live broadcast free-to-air and satellite TV, live camera streams from the training ground and pitch, from third-party statistics engines and data from Agilysys InfoGenesis electronic point of sale (EPOS) systems.
Tripleplay has enabled Manchester City to take all of these sources and deliver them to each of the 1,000+ screens on site, either as a fullscreen content item or as part of a digital signage layout; there is full flexibility to deliver this content in its most appropriate format and to any group of screens.
Danny Wilson, Manchester City’s director of sales, services and operations, commented: “On a matchday it’s all about how we can engage different segments of our matchday fan base in different ways, communicating different messaging to them, relevant information, key stats, scores from around the grounds that really give them an enhanced experience on a match day and make it all more meaningful as well for them.
“We’re fortunate here at Manchester City, we’ve got a fan zone outside the stadium, we’ve got a lot of hospitality areas and we’ve got nice open concourses within the stadium as well. But within those areas of the stadium we’ve got different groups of fans, we’ve got families in one stand, we’ve got our more vocal support in another area, all the hospitality areas are different and we have different types of supporter in those spaces who want different things, from meeting former players to getting seats on the halfway line or seats behind the goal.
“I think through the use of technology and a platform like Tripleplay we have the opportunity to communicate more child-friendly messages in the family stand as an example, play out different content that they like, that appeals to them so it’s relevant and they don’t turn off; it’s continually enhancing that matchday experience for them.”
Working with Tripleplay, Manchester City is able to pull all of its digital services under one ‘umbrella’ solution, creating less complexity and simpler management and operation. The club's choice has also ensured the benefits of the flexibility and scalability of the Tripleplay solution is shared by other non-Tripleplay services; all visual and audio digital media can now be delivered to any single screen or group of screens to any area of the stadium and training ground.
Because Tripleplay’s next-generation platform delivers a variety of services – digital signage, IPTV, digital menus, interactive hospitality TV portals, mobile streaming and sports applications – it has the delivery of technology to multiple departments within the club.
Owing to Tripleplay’s hardware agnostic approach, Manchester City has the opportunity to enhance and develop as technology does. While initially content was delivered at 720p, the club was able to upscale to 1080p with a simple hardware swap in key areas of the ground. Likewise, the Tripleplay system can deliver 4K, so as and when Manchester City is ready for that step, the Tripleplay platform will be ready to support this with virtually no additional investment and a simple software upgrade.
The importance of digital content to Manchester City on match days has grown alongside the solution, it has become a key part of engaging supporters, and as such they cannot afford the system to be offline for any length of time. The fact that Tripleplay offers the ability to cluster servers offering instant fail over is something that is seen as key to the project’s success.
Wilson concluded: “I think Tripleplay provide a platform that everybody at the football club feels is the right platform for the football club at this point in time. We have got over 1000 screens on the Tripleplay network at the moment, that’s going to grow with stadium expansion, with the growth of the football club, and Tripleplay have got the desire and aspirations to grow alongside us as well and continue to support us.”
More details about Tripleplay's IPTV and digital signage solutions