Representatives from Manchester City, Manchester United, the LADbible group and SAP will be presenting alongside the Mayor at the world’s largest tech conference this week.
A high-profile business delegation spearheaded by Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, will present at South by South West (SXSW) Interactive in Austin, Texas, this week.
The delegation will, for the first time, host two thought provoking, data-driven panel sessions at the world’s largest tech conference.
With The University of Manchester having introduced the world’s first stored-program computer in 1948, the city changed how we interact with technology forever.
As well as having a heritage in tech, the city also has a long sporting history having founded the professional soccer league in 1888 and today, has arguably two of the most successful teams in the world.
Manchester is also home to British Cycling - Great Britain’s official cycling squad that has repeatedly led the nation to Olympic victory.
The city is also the largest digital and tech hub outside London specialising in ecommerce, cyber security, big data and FinTech, with over 7,500 companies employing 82,300 people.
Manchester’s presence at SXSW Interactive 2018 will celebrate the power of technology in sport with soccer teams Manchester United and Manchester City, British Cycling, SAP, LADbible and the BBC, represented on panels dedicated to sports analytics and fan engagement.
Reflecting this talent base, Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, has ambitions to make Greater Manchester a European top five digital city by 2020.
“Hosting panel sessions at SXSW Interactive is a proud moment for Greater Manchester as we continue to cement our position as one of the best technologically advanced cities in Europe”, said Mayor Andy Burnham.
“A pioneering city of computer science, a leader in digital innovation and home to some of the world’s most revered soccer teams, Greater Manchester is an impressive destination for international businesses, sports fans and tech talent,” he added.
The panel sessions, taking place on 9 and 10 March, will explore adopting smart data technology to enhance professional sports performance and revolutionise the fan experience. Manchester will also be exhibiting at booth 1120.
The first panel Beyond the Game: Data-Driven Fan Engagement, will discuss how smart data can cut through the noise to increase a club’s all-consuming fan base. This session includes speakers from the BBC and home-grown brands Manchester United Football Club and LADbible Group.
Andrew Diggle, head of content, programming and productions at Manchester United Football Club, said: “Over the last few years Manchester United has transformed its digital outreach to communicate with the Club’s 659m global fans, a figure that doubled between 2007 - 2013.
“By continually developing ways to enhance our digital fan experience, we aim to make them feel more and more connected to the Club.”
Peter Heneghan, head of communications at the LADbible Group, added: “It’s exciting for LADbible Group to be taking part in SXSW to help showcase the city of Manchester as a hub of innovation.
“This panel session allows us to get closer to one of our key audiences – sports fans - and showcase how our use of data, social media and technologies are driving increasing levels of interaction and engagement.”
Manchester’s second panel session, Anyone Can Pick a Winner: Smart Data in Sports, will hear speakers from Manchester City Football Club, SAP and British Cycling talking about the capability for smart data to reimagine how sports are played and managed.
Tom Glick, chief commercial officer of the City Football Group, said: “From our home in Manchester to our six clubs around the world, technology and data are helping us to make smarter decisions from the boardroom to the playing field. Working with and learning from our partners and other leaders in data gathering and interpretation are critical to continuing to develop, compete and perform.”
Martha Sama, head of business development for creative, digital and tech Industries at MIDAS, Manchester’s inward investment agency, said: “US tech companies looking to tap into Manchester’s vibrant tech cluster should see SXSW as an opportunity to access some of Manchester’s leading innovative firms and universities.
“The US is a key market for Manchester in terms of foreign direct investment and 662 US-owned companies call the city region home, including IBM and Raytheon.”