The digital push

Multi-platform offensive to woo fans to embrace SPL

FAS vice-president Edwin Tong and Converzion chief executive James Nicol showing off the mySPL web application. The Singapore Premier League's digital push is a key part of the league's rebranding.
FAS vice-president Edwin Tong and Converzion chief executive James Nicol showing off the mySPL web application. The Singapore Premier League's digital push is a key part of the league's rebranding.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

The Singapore Premier League (SPL) wants to put its football in the palms of fans in the country.

As part of its rebranding efforts, the SPL is making a digital push in a bid for deeper engagement with existing fans, as well as to reach out to those who have yet to embrace local football.

The league's digital efforts will see live streaming of its matches on multiple platforms - Facebook and website mycujoo.tv - and an interactive web application that is set to add a new element to the SPL match experience.

Called mySPL, the web application provides all pertinent competition information, match previews and reports, and also allows fans to purchase tickets.

Through mySPL, fans will be able to post comments during a match, take part in polls, and even vote for who they think is the Man of the Match. They can also personalise their app by selecting their favourite team, and get notifications of team news and reports.

The interactive element of the app is what excites Football Association of Singapore (FAS) vice-president Edwin Tong.

"It is interactive and can also respond to what we see as areas of interest for fans. It's very dynamic, and focused on what the audience wants," said Tong.

James Nicol is the chief executive of Converzion, the company that developed and runs mySPL, and he believes that the content in the app will change the way fans experience local football.

"If you watch the match on television, or even at the stadium, it is static - you have to drop everything and be there at a certain time," he said.

"Now with streaming, fans can watch from anywhere, and the app will provide a pre-match experience with previews and team news, engage with fans during the game, and provide stats and highlights post match."

Tong believes that mySPL can be the league's flagship product, but he is clear that is not a silver bullet.

"Fans were not connected to clubs and players in the last few seasons, that was a problem. We must build relationships with the community in real life through our community and school engagement programmes, but what (mySPL) does is enhance what we do, to a bigger audience," he said.

Tong revealed that SPL clubs "will make sure they have wifi in their stadiums" to attract more fans to embrace mySPL, and hopefully lead to more bums on seats.

"If we have 50,000 fans online and only 500 at the stadium, I'll see this as a failure. I don't want to put a number on it yet but, after four weeks of the season, I will be able to set clearer targets, and they won't be low targets," said Tong.

"mySPL will quickly become our flagship product, this is what we feel will drive Singapore football forward. A lot more energy and effort will be put into it."

Shamir Osman

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 31, 2018, with the headline 'Multi-platform offensive to woo fans to embrace SPL'. Print Edition | Subscribe