Chelsea Football Club: Smart Stadia Hackathon

Last week, two of our students participated in the Smart Stadia Hackathon hosted by Chelsea Football Club.

After a week of being “Chelseafied” to gain an inside view of what happens away from the pitch at Chelsea FC, Sport Business and Leadership MSc students Charlie Heyworth and Liz Hyde presented technological sports solutions to a panel of judges on the final day. 

Fan engagement is one of many key areas for concern for Chelsea who, over the coming years, will face hurdles when they move out of Stamford Bridge to play home games at Wembley whilst their West London home is refurbished into a state-of-the-art 60,000 capacity stadium. To proactively discover solutions, Chelsea are piloting a collaborative innovation strategy, whereby a range of knowledge-exchanging hacks aim to help the club work collaboratively with a range of innovative businesses to pioneer new strategies which will ensure the club strives to outperform its competitors – both on and off the pitch.

Chelsea’s Head of Employability and Enterprise, and organiser of the hackathon, Carl Southwell explained “The hack allows us to interact with new companies, people and ideas and allow different areas of the club to see if they are presenting some solutions to the challenges we face at the club. By allowing the companies to learn and become ‘Chelseafied’ they can deliver some really tailored and niche propositions that we need rather than an off the shelf solution.

At Chelsea’s Smart Stadia hackathon, disruptive sports tech companies from around the world were asked to propose different niched solutions that would improve the fan experience on match days. Loughborough students worked alongside Ryan McCumber (former Global Head of Tech at KPMG) to pitch technological solutions from companies that could radically improve the future matchday experiences of fans at Stamford Bridge.

Last year, Loughborough University London formed a three-year strategic partnership with Chelsea Football Club. To find out more about Charlie's experience of the Smart Stadia Hackathon, please see our blog post