We continued to evolve and innovate in the media space to serve up the highest quality content to our fans.
The PUMA partnership – and accompanying range of three new kits for the new season – was launched in July 2019 with our biggest ever media campaign. It included an augmented reality (AR) element featuring an industry-acclaimed Snapchat lens that allowed fans to play a penalty game before trying on the kits using the AR technology. Three of the posts on PUMA’s Instagram feed covering the new kit were in their all-time top ten in terms of engagement. And the media campaign worked; the new kits achieved a new Club record for sales.
We expanded the availability of our over-the-top (OTT) streaming platform, CITY+, which is now accessible on Smart TVs, via an app on mobile devices, or in a web browser. Providing unrivalled access to premium high-quality content, fans can watch full replays of men’s and women’s matches, live streams of pre-season tour fixtures and exclusive documentaries.
In September, we launched a collaboration with FaZe Clan, the most popular esports organisation in the world. Highlights of the collaboration in the first year include the exclusive merchandise drop of men’s team walk-out jackets, members of FaZe Clan appearing in CityTV’s EA Sports monthly magazine show, and streamed Fortnite sessions between pro Fortnite player Nate Hill, Kyle Walker and Kevin De Bruyne. Manchester City’s announcement tweet of this partnership had the second highest level of engagement of all the Club’s tweets in the 2019 calendar year, second only to the post celebrating the 2018-19 Premier League title win.
We created more cutting-edge viewing experiences with Intel’s TrueView product this season, with the introduction of immersive highlights. This led to the evolution of Be the Player, which uses immersive 5G camera technology to give a ‘mindseye’ view of how a killer pass or play was executed by our men’s team stars. We also teamed up with Second Spectrum to produce statistical insight pieces in partnership with SAP and Rexona.
On our main social accounts, the number of followers continued to grow on Facebook, Twitter and especially Instagram, which was up 44%. Including our newest channel on TikTok, there were 319 million interactions this year on our social channels, 22% up from the previous year. This growth is impressive given the disruption to the season which meant that there was less on-the-pitch activity to spark social media engagement. With fewer games played, much of the growth may be attributed to the wide range of initiatives the Club launched in the digital space during lockdown.
The pandemic also had a significant effect on TV viewing of live Premier League games. Taking into account all games played this season (including those in July), there was a huge 41% increase in viewing in the UK of live games featuring Manchester City. This was due in part to all Premier League games being shown on TV during Project Restart, including some on free-to-air channels. City’s away game against Southampton was the second most watched Premier League game during the Restart period with a live UK audience of 4.4 million on the BBC. Globally, live viewing of TV games involving Manchester City saw steady growth once again, up by 6%. This was despite in some key countries, such as Brazil, the rights moving from free-to-air television to a pay-TV broadcaster (reducing total audience numbers but increasing broadcast revenues from that territory).
Interactions (likes, shares, comments, etc.) across platforms up by over 20% in 2019-20
Growth of Manchester City social media accounts in 2019-20
Viewers of live Premier League games featuring Manchester City on television in 2019-20
‘Science of Success’ was a 19-minute film providing an in-depth look inside the City Football Academy to reveal how the then-reigning Premier League champions prepared for and recovered from matchdays.
With insight from our sports science department into how they work with the Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI), the documentary highlights how the Club helps players manage the physical demands of their career. Sergio Agüero and Gabriel Jesus both revealed how they approach their diets and how this has benefited them on the pitch, while Jill Scott, Georgia Stanway and Caroline Weir explained how they recover between games.