In recent years, social networks like Facebook and Twitter have established themselves as a means of communication for the teams in the German football Bundesliga. Clubs are now able to reach their fans more directly and quickly than ever before by means of exclusive background reports. These social platforms promote and extend the clubs’ own offerings and comprehensively exploit their existing potential. However, until now it has not been possible to establish applications within these networks with which clubs such as Borussia Dortmund could create entertaining content for their fans and generate new revenues at the same time.
In summer 2011 the first Bundesliga club, Borussia Dortmund, got in touch with the Spanish games manufacturer FromTheBench and developed the social game "BVB Fantasy Manager 2012“ for the German market. Based on notorious football managers, fans are able to manage their favourite team on Facebook and/or using the iPhone application. The game can be played for free, but offers the opportunity to achieve more rapid progress by making purchases within the application (in-app payments). In view of this, the club is entering a highly sensitive area which requires a top-quality product and transparent communication. To ensure the product quality, Borussia Dortmund is in close cooperation with the renowned games manufacturer FromTheBench, who has already created the "Fantasy Manager" product in other countries for clubs such as Real Madrid and FC Barcelona and has achieved sustainable success with its users. Furthermore, the game has undergone selected-user testing and improvement as part of a beta phase. Transparent communication regarding costs in the sensitive area of in-app payments has built acceptance and reduced misunderstandings among the fans.
The game is promoted by means of all BVB media channels (press release, homepage, Facebook, stadium magazine, Fan TV and perimeter advertising). The response has been extremely positive. Within the first four weeks, more than 95,000 downloads and 62,000 active users were recorded. The quality of the product is endorsed by its positive ratings in the Apple App Store; the game achieved 4.5 out of 5 possible stars. In the area of revenue-generating applications, this application has occupied a leading position over the long term (highest position: 6th place).
"BVB Fantasy Manager 2012“ is a project which promises to be a lasting success, also due to its continuous further development. However, a prerequisite for this is investment in product quality and communication. Only with a top-quality product will the club be in a position to generate sustainable positive revenues.
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