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Case from another sport: Delivering joy to fans and business benefits in Europe’s elite ice hockey competition

Insights into the Champions Hockey League’s activation with Seyu, our FBIN Business Network member.

Our latest partnership provided a chance to hundreds of hockey enthusiasts to connect with their beloved stars and show their support from the jumbotrons via Seyu’s real-time moderated channel  during the Semi-Finals and Final of the Champions Hockey League, one of the world’s biggest ice hockey competitions.

The 2022/23 Champions Hockey League season was the eighth edition of the pan-European ice hockey competition. The Semi-Finals took place on the 10th and returned on the 17th of January 2023, just a few weeks before the highly-anticipated Final on the 18th of February.

In Europe’s elite ice hockey competition, the 32 best teams of the continent competed for the trophy. As a fun fact, amongst them was the Hungarian hockey giant Fehérvár AV19 for the first time in its history. The season ended the best possible way for the Finnish powerhouses Tappara Tampere who won their very first Champions Hockey League title, defeating Swedish team Luleå Hockey 3–2 in a nerve-racking Final.

Fans provide an extra boost via the jumbotrons, even from home and watch parties 

All hockey clubs and their huge fan bases in the CHL take game days very seriously and make sure that the teams receive an extraordinary boost from fans, especially in the final stages of a season long competition where fatigue and mental strength plays a huge part in who will come out on top and lift the trophy.

The Champions Hockey League knows that taking part in an international club competition is special for fans, players and clubs alike, this is why the game day show, even from the first day of the competition, must be elevated in the same manner.  When experts at the Champions Hockey League decided to partner with ‘Seyu – Together for victory!’, they were fully aware that Seyu would not only provide fans an euphoric match day experience in the arenas and in front of their TVs and streams but also would deliver a handful of business benefits for the organisation.

Engaging a global audience in a meaningful campaign 

Numerous studies proved in the past that one of the number one psychology behind being a fan is satisfying the human need for belongingness. Belonging comes with very strong psychological and societal benefits which sport and supportership delivers hand in hand at sport events locally, such as inclusiveness, cultural acceptance, self-esteem and devotion amongst many others.

The Champions Hockey League and Seyu set out to embrace and deliver the beauty of belongingness to fans in the arenas and way beyond that, being extremely loyal to the CHL tagline throughout the operation of the organisation at every level:  #championsgobeyond. Seyu devised an online campaign, including all visual assets, which was launched on the CHL’s digital platforms, to engage and invite fans to snap selfies and post them to the jumbotrons in the arenas and to the CHL’s social media platforms via Seyu’s real-time moderated channel.

Throughout the campaign, arching the four Semi-Finals and the Final in Luleå, the activation involved fans across 28 countries, providing a colourful game day experience to fans as far as the United States, Japan and New Zealand, making the celebration of top class European ice hockey a truly global event for all fans. Participating clubs’ regions were obviously outweighing other countries, 20% of the fans were engaged by the photo posting activation from Finland, 15% from Sweden and 4% from Switzerland (the latter country was only featured in the Semi-Finals) and 61% of interested fans were from all over the world. Visible on the numbers that the fans of the two finalists, especially of the champions, fully embraced and leveraged Seyu’s solution.

The Champions Hockey League and Seyu used existing communicational platforms to deliver the value proposition of the selfie experience. The access point to the CHL branded web platform of Seyu was integrated in the official CHL app, and featured on the organisation’s official website, Instagram and Facebook channels. In addition, in-venue invitations to participate featured the jumbotron between the commercial slots, where branded selfies appeared also, integrated into the game day screen content. Interesting insights that, for example, 34% of traffic to the photo posting platform came via social media – 8 to 1 ratio between Instagram and Facebook -, while 16% accessed via the official CHL app and 45% via the QR codes displayed.

Delivering to CHL much more than a ‘plug in and play’, fun fan-engagement solution

Seyu’s activation managed to actively involve 7% of the on-site audience in the Final and provided unique insights to the CHL when it comes to market intelligence, delivered in a form of Seyu reporting. Thanks to Seyu’s AI assisted analytics, used also in image moderation, staggering insights such as merchandise item popularity, trending craze amongst young spectators and audience demographics were unearthed. Fans involved in the activation during the Semi-Finals wore hockey merchandise in 47.5%, Tappara Tampere jersey topping the list. While in the Final 77% dressed to the occasion, Luleå Hockey fans showed up big time in their jerseys, giving their best to help their team to win. Not surprisingly 72% of fans snapping selfies were below the age of 40, while rather the male (72%) supporter base of hockey clubs were drawn to use Seyu in the cheering, proving our solution an ideal activation in locking father and son ice hockey moments in the hearts of young families.

Enhancing the foundation for future proof, data driven sponsorship vehicles 

The return on investment (ROI) is always a key principle when it comes to commercial partnerships, being that between service providers and organisations or sponsoring brands and right holders. Keeping this in focus, Seyu’s goal in all collaborations is to deliver value to all stakeholders in the value chain.

The user experience of fans and the 30-40 seconds journey they take to post their photos via Seyu’s real-time moderated channel was/is being carefully formulated to provide the most benefit to partners while ushering fans through a smooth and swift flow. As a result sponsorship activation, traffic generation to key platforms, highly engaging and branded social media exposure via authentic user generated content (UGC) and data collection are all amongst the business value that Seyu brings to the table.

Throughout the CHL activation 7.4% of fans were funnelled to the organisation’s official website through call to action (CTA) buttons implemented in the automated user journey, while 28.6%, almost a third of participants, accessed the social media sites of the league after posting a selfie.

Seyu’s GDPR compliant data collecting feature also managed to create a direct bridge between the CHL and fans via which the organisation in the future can easily reach out to their audience in a personalised manner and deliver the right value proposition. Calculating with the global standard, current lead acquisition cost the activation delivered the value of $22k – $82k in CPL, depending on consumer industry, which would play a significant role in sponsorship negotiations in the future. Remember the details of the recent transaction between Spotify and FC Barcelona.

Professionally delivered service always yields successful partnerships and satisfied partners

When the CHL’s Communication & Digital Media Director, Monika Reinhard was asked about the collaboration, she highlighted how smooth the cooperation went with Seyu from the first game and all the way through the activation period. “Partners working with the Champions Hockey League, must uphold very strict branding guidelines and compliance with those for Seyu came rather naturally in the service setup process.”

Further embracing the startup’s experience in over 400 sport events across 15 countries, and how easily the remote integration of branded fan photo displaying at all venues went for the clubs’ operators – “Seyu’s adjustable, real-time displaying technology posed no challenges at all four match locations and worked reliably, independently from how advanced the venue technology available was.” commented Reinhard. “Overall, we were pleased with the collaboration and how Seyu worked as our extended team in the activation, providing a hands-on service.” – the sport communication and digital media expert summing our conversation up.

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