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Manchester City teams up with Qualtrics for fan experience management

Manchester City is teaming up with online survey software firm Qualtrics, part-owned by long-term City Football Group supplier SAP, to engage more intelligently with the football club’s fanbase

Current English Premier League champions Manchester City are teaming up with online survey company Qualtrics to tap into feedback from fans to enhance their matchday experience.

Manchester City, which is one of the 11 clubs that make up the City Football Group which also includes New York City FC and Melbourne City FC, has had a long-term commercial relationship with SAP, which acquired Qualtrics for $8bn in 2018 and partially divested it in 2020 in the form of an IPO. SAP retains a majority shareholding in Qualtrics.

The City Football Group was established in May 2013 and owns football-related businesses in major cities around the world, including football clubs, academies, technical support and marketing companies. Its majority owner is the Abu Dhabi United Group (ADUG).

The group and its clubs have been using SAP’s technology for their business operations, to interact with fans and to improve player acquisition and performance since 2015.

In 2016, Manchester City unveiled an interactive digital fan wall, built on SAP’s Hana Cloud Platform. The purpose of the wall, located at the club’s Etihad Stadium, was said, at that time, to be a way of better engaging fans.

City has now announced a new deal with Qualtrics, which styles itself as “the leader and creator of the experience management (XM) category”, and which will make Qualtrics the club’s official experience management partner.

“As a club, we are continually working to improve our matchday offering for fans both in-stadium and across our digital platforms for those following across the globe,” said Stephan Cieplik, senior vice-president of global partnerships sales at City Football Group. “Through this new partnership with Qualtrics, we will be able to use industry-leading software to gather valuable feedback and insight from those at the heart of our club to help shape future decisions around matchdays.”

The Qualtrics software enables organisations to listen to and analyse customer and employee feedback, then take action to improve experiences in real time. 

The football club plans to use Qualtrics to improve City fans’ experiences around matchdays, encompassing how they interact with the shopping, eating and drinking facilities the club has to offer. It promises decision-makers at the club real-time fan data that provides insights that will shaper future strategic planning.

City is also looking to “enhance the digital experience for Cityzens across the globe”. This has added importance for a club that lacks the demonstrable historic global brand identity of clubs such as Manchester United, Liverpool and even Scottish club Celtic, the first British side to capture the European Cup that currently eludes Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.

“With Qualtrics, Manchester City can listen to and understand fan feedback in real time and take action to improve matchday experiences,” said Brad Anderson, Qualtrics president of products and services. “But fan experience isn’t limited to the stadium – the digital and at-home fan experience is just as important, and Qualtrics helps Manchester City to deliver a personalised experience to fans wherever they are.”

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