Fan-driven content production case study: The Kick Off with Coral

Nik Selman, MD of Formidable, took part in SVG Europe’s Sports Venue and Fan Engagement Summit in Amsterdam last month, discussing the current landscape for clubs and venues’ connectivity with fans.

He was able to bring a different perspective to the table: the role of YouTubers within fan engagement. Here, Selman discusses Formidable’s work with fan football show, The Kick Off with Coral, and the opportunities in live streaming for fan-driven content.

“The Kick Off with Coral has been nothing short of a YouTube phenomenon. Bookmaker Coral wanted to increase its presence at the heart of Premier League action every weekend. With the growing power of influencers across social media, Coral decided to partner with a content creator to engage football fans in an interactive, live conversation. YouTuber, True Geordie, teamed up with director/presenter, Laurence McKenna, to come up with the show’s concept.

“Essentially, The Kick Off with Coral is a three to five hour live YouTube show on Premier League match days – it’s part Gogglebox and part football punditry. For viewers, it’s like sitting with a bunch of very funny, well-informed mates, discussing the game they love. True Geordie and Laurence brought us on board to develop and produce the live show.

“Formidable’s live production workflow for delivering The Kick off with Coral features the Blackmagic Design ATEM 4 M/E Broadcast Studio and ATEM 1 M/E Advanced Panel.

“Initially, there was a huge amount of work to do to turn the idea of a live show into reality. We wanted to elevate the production quality of True Geordie’s content, whilst ensuring his personality stayed intact; attracting new viewers to the show, without alienating his existing fanbase.

“We’ve created a workflow that achieves production values that rival what’s out there on broadcast in terms of punditry and data visualisation. Our setup is almost exclusively based Blackmagic Design and alongside the multicam studio coverage, we throw in real time stats from a Reality Check Systems touchscreen, as well as fans’ social posts and video gameplay. It makes a high level of production affordable for a 34 week YouTube show; there’s nothing else like it on the platform.

“The Kick Off has clocked up 35 million views to date, averaging about 500k per episode. Fans crave authentic content, that addresses the topics and issues they care about in their own language. Their public opinions used to be confined to chants from the stands and radio phone-in shows, but now they can speak directly and honestly to other fans through a variety of channels that they own. With the democratisation of media, content creators need to listen to these demands.

“What we do is a different offering to traditional sport broadcasting but it’s easy to see how both disciplines will start to converge as more live sports end up on YouTube and Facebook over the next few years. It’s a really exciting industry to be a part of.

“As the fan channel sector matures, we’re likely to see channels emerge with broader appeal and others happily remain outside the football establishment. US sports teams often lead the way in the area of influencer engagement. Collaboration is at the heart of growing audiences on social media. Fan channels for teams in leagues such as the NBA are clearly much more closely aligned with their clubs, so it’s likely we’ll see more of that here in the UK in the future.”

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