By Jonathan Davies
Manchester City has become the first Premier League football club to launch a dedicated second-screen live matchday app.
CityMatchDay launches ahead of this weekend's derby against bitter rivals Manchester United with the aim of bringing the fans closer to thank action than ever before.
CityTV Live, Manchester City's TV channel, is one of three channels available on the app. It will bring live behind-the-scenes videos like the team announcement and pre-match player interviews. Users will also be able to watch live footage directly from the players’ tunnel, the post-match managers’ press conferences, and commentary from club pundits, fans and special guests.
Manchester City recently introduced free, high-speed broadband at the Etihad Stadium, which the clubs says will allow fans at the game to stream two extra live channels.
The 'Highlights' channel will summarise the key moments from the match, showing them in a variety of angles.
The 'Tactical Cam' channel shows the match from a high view-point, giving a clearer idea of the formations and tactics involved in the match.
Manchester City Director of Media and Fan Relationship, Diego Gigliani, said: “Football is much more than just the 90 minutes on the pitch.
"The matchday ritual begins for many fans the moment they wake up in the morning.
"This is what we wanted to try and capture and share with our fans, wherever they’re supporting us from.
“As a Club, we have always prided ourselves on digital innovation and continually trying to push the boundaries of what is possible to ensure our fans have a great time supporting their team.
"This philosophy not only lies at the heart of our fan engagement, but also our aim to create the world’s most immersive digital matchday experience.”
Research released at the end of September suggested that the second-screen is playing an increasingly important role in how football fans watch the game, whether at the stadium, at home or at the pub.
But not everyone is in favour of things like apps and social media at a football match. When Dutch Eredivisie club PSV Eindhoven introduced WiFi at its stadium, the fans held protests. They believed it would distract fans from the match happening in front of them. Some even held banners which read "F*** WIFI, SUPPORT THE TEAM".
CityMatchDay certainly appears to the be the next logical step in terms of engagement with fans on mobile devices. Clubs are already involved in a fight to see who can get the most followers, but could the race to app downloads be the next big thing for football clubs?
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