Business Technology

Manchester United recruits tech firm to build Old Trafford fan experience lab

3 min read

02 September 2015

Former editor

The latest partnership involving Manchester United Football Club has been unveiled, one which will see HCL Technologies create a United Xperience Lab to discover “revolutionary ways” for the team to use tech to crate a “unified fan experience”.

Based at the club’s Old Trafford stadium, the lab is the seventh lab in the world and will see the 13-time English Premier League winners “set a new engagement benchmark” in the world of sport.

With evidence from the team suggesting Manchester United has 659m global followers, HCL has become its first official digital transformation partner.

Explaining the move, Manchester United’s group managing director Richard Arnold, said: “With the introduction of the United Xperience lab at Old Trafford, we hope to demonstrate best practices within the industry to generate new ideas that leverage the latest technology available in the evolving digital landscape.

“It is a very exciting prospect and the possibilities of what we can achieve are endless. Through digital transformation we hope to change the way in which our fans experience and interact with Manchester United. Together with HCL we aim to develop innovative ways to connect with our fans around the world, providing a blueprint for other global organisations.”

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The move comes nearly three months after rival club Manchester City announced it was partnering with mobile platform Ideas Britain to find “grassroots innovators” who possess groundbreaking ideas for technology in sport.

Taking the form of a competition launching in October 2015 and running until 15 December, successful winners will have one-on-one mentors sessions with Ideas Britain coaches and the staff at Manchester City best suited to moving the idea forward.

Fellow Premier League club Chelsea also unveiled a unique apprenticeship scheme in May, seeing it join forces with Westminster Kingsway College to combine football coaching with accounting.

Anant Gupta, president and CEO of HCL Technologies, said of the coming together with Manchester United: “This partnership is unique and creates value not just for Manchester United and its fans, but also for all forward-looking organisations across the world.

“With enterprises facing an explosion of digital content and experience interfaces there is a growing need for a partner who can orchestrate these value chains and harness them for business benefits. Our partnership will enable HCL to create and manage these digital assets at a scale which will make it a prototype for successful digital co-innovation in any industry/organisation in the world. We are very excited to be part of this partnership that aims to pioneer the 21st century enterprise experience.”