Off the pitch, a revolution has been quietly brewing, a transformation not of the game itself, but of the very way fans engage with football. Ekstraklasa, Poland’s premier football league, recognised the dawn of a new digital era and resolved to be at the forefront of this evolution.
Ekstraklasa, Poland’s premier football league, embarked on a groundbreaking journey to modernise and revolutionise its digital ecosystem. With the goals of connecting a vast network of applications, elevating the user experience, and drawing in new sponsors, Ekstraklasa embraced the power of Single Sign-On (SSO) and Customer Identity and Access Management (CIAM).
In a football league’s digital ecosystem, which might include platforms like an official website, a merchandising store, a ticketing portal, and a fan engagement app, Single Sign-On (SSO) enables fans to seamlessly access all these platforms using a single set of credentials, enhancing the user experience. Meanwhile, Customer Identity and Access Management (CIAM) manages user profiles, providing a unified view of a fan’s activities across all platforms. This not only facilitates tailored content and promotions for fans but also ensures data protection, compliance, and scalable system performance during peak times, such as ticket releases.
The Ekstraklasa’s objective was clear: create a robust database that facilitates seamless communication within the league’s online features while also serving as a magnet for prospective sponsors. In this pursuit of digital transformation, Ekstraklasa selected TISA Group’s WICKET as the ideal solution to empower their vision.
During the selection process, a deep dive into the client’s needs was undertaken. The exploration also included an understanding of Ekstraklasa’s future plans for ecosystem development. WICKET emerged as the right fit because it not only aligned with the current requirements but also promised scalability and versatility. For instance, the platform’s flexibility allows Ekstraklasa to introduce novel features such as fan quizzes, which boost fan engagement.
Since the introduction of a shared ecosystem for all Ekstraklasa functions, including Ekstraklasa TV (OTT), the number of users in the shared database has tripled, surpassing 300,000.
Integral to the development and implementation of the shared ecosystem was the adherence to data protection standards. The solution, crafted by the TISA Group, was meticulously developed in line with the GDPR principles. Given the sensitive nature of fan data, special attention was paid to ensure data isolation. Stringent measures were put in place to ensure that access to this data was restricted, allowing only authorised entities to gain entry. Such precautions not only complied with legal regulations but also bolstered user trust in Ekstraklasa’s platforms.
Daniel Kobyłka, New Media Manager at Ekstraklasa S.A., commented on the introduction of SSO and CIAM to Ekstraklasa’s ecosystem:
“The implementation of SSO and CIAM have been a win-win case. Our fans no longer need repetitive logins, which has made their digital experience modern and secure. This has led to an increase in user conversion rate and ultimately opened doors to new sponsorship opportunities for Ekstraklasa. Selecting the right technological partner for this project was essential, considering the complexity of our league’s digital ecosystem. TISA Group played a crucial role in our success due to their expertise and dedication.”
Scalability and Future Innovations
The solution was designed with scalability in mind, not only for Ekstraklasa as a single client but also in the context of the WICKET product as a whole. This flexible product is easy to integrate with other elements, allowing for the replacement of providers when necessary, all while maintaining data security.
The Ekstraklasa solution has the potential to collect user data and create real-time marketing campaigns based on it. It can be used for personalised advertisements from sports merchandise stores promoting the team jerseys of the goalscorers or collectible items. Furthermore, there’s the possibility of precise user targeting and email communication personalisation, such as sending emails to fans of a specific team.
One idea to expand the current solution is to utilise AI for planning and creating content on the website, especially for match-related content. AI could suggest ready-made texts or paragraphs describing on-field events. Additionally, another innovation could be facilitating access to unique statistical data using AI. An AI-based chatbot could provide statistics and data related to the league, like how many goals Legia Warsaw scored against Widzew Łódź at the Widzew Łódź stadium.
We asked Kamil Rzeźnicki, Chief of Product at TISA Group, for insights to share with other sports leagues considering a similar approach:
“The most important thing is to maintain consistency in actions, have a strategy for current solutions, and be open to future technological innovations, such as AI or VR. SSO and CIAM systems must be flexible and easily integrated with new capabilities. Additionally, building and securely managing a database are key elements in the context of sponsorship and marketing offerings.”
Ekstraklasa’s strategic digital transformation provides a compelling case study for football leagues worldwide. In an era where fan engagement is directly tied to revenue potential, leveraging technology to deepen connections is paramount. Ekstraklasa’s journey underscores a clear message for football businesses everywhere: in the evolving landscape of football, being technologically agile is not just advantageous—it’s essential for sustained success.
If you’d like to learn more about TISA Group’s approach to innovative engagement and digital transformation of the sports industry, check out their offer on their website tisagroup.ch and stay tuned for more success stories!