Interview of a Manjappada Kerala Blasters Fan: Winner Stories from Spaces

- 29th Dec 2017

Every building has a story. Every physical space has a story. In July’s quest to make buildings special and memorable, we invited July’s friends on Social Media to share stories of physical spaces.

Stories from Spaces was launched for the community to share pictures and stories of a physical space that was special and close to them. The story submitted which got the most number of votes on Facebook was awarded $300!

There were 13 participants around the world, and the story that got the most number of votes was the story of a Football Stadium called the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi, a city in India. Checkout all the stories here.

Stories from Spaces, 2017
Winner: Mohzin T Azad, Kochi
Physical Space: Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Kochi
Number of likes: 1290
Prize money: $300

In conversation with Mohzin T Azad, the winner of Stories from Spaces, 2017.

Hi Mohzin, tell us how the experience of going to the stadium is like.

It’s just amazing. The adrenaline, the noise, sitting in a crowd of more than 70,000 people and cheering for your team makes it a unique and wonderful experience.

How often do you go to the stadium?

For every game at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi, I will be there 🙂

Where do you like to sit in the stadium?

Always at the top tier or the upper side. They give an aerial and a full-view of the ground unlike the seats closer to the ground.

Which is your most memorable moment in the stadium?

My favorite game was the Kerala Blasters vs Chennaiyan FC match on Nov 11th 2016. It was a must win for our home team Kerala Blasters to qualify for the semi finals  and there were also tension between fans of both sides due to a fight that occurred during previous meeting between the teams. Our home team where 0-1 down at half time which further created an uneasiness among the home fans. But the last 25 minutes was pure magic. The home team Kerala Blasters scored 3 goals of these 3 goals, 2 of them were wonder strikes from our local hero CK Vineeth making the final 25 min, a fairytale for the home fans and helping the home team inch closer to the semi finals.

How did you manage so many likes?

With the help of Kerala Blasters fans association. I shared the story with our fan group and they did the rest. We are a proud bunch of people. Though our team haven’t won any titles, yet, our fans association is one of the strongest fan communities in the world.

How big is the association? What’s special about them?

Kerala Blasters fans association called Manjappada has more than 200,000 members from across the world. Manjappada just won the best fans association in India beating Bharat Army, Namma RCB, West block blues, in India’s first ever Sports Award Show called Sports Honours conducted by the Star Network in the presence of Virat Kohli and other major sports personalities as well as Bollywood personalities like Aamir Khan.

Manjappada has more than 100 Whatsapp groups for members across the world. Manjappada also has a Mobile app which contains chants, player profile etc. Manjappada is also active in other social media platforms like Youtube where you can find player interviews, videos inside the stadium, etc. Apart from that, they also conducts football tournaments to promote the sport and the team. Manjappada organizes meet-ups to coordinate chants, to welcome the team at the airport, make large banners and also good deeds like blood donations campaigns.

What is the current stadium engagement like?

The current stadium engagement is not great compared to other International Stadiums around the world. There is no WiFi to start with, the mobile network coverage inside the stadium is poor with 4G network nonexistent inside the stadium. There are only two screens inside the stadium to see the replay or the stats of the match which are far away for most of the fans. The screens are of poor quality and the clarity is abysmal. There is also no app or a website for that matter, so the fans aren’t engaged or can’t easily give a feedback.

How do you think your experience could improve?

The Stadium needs a real upgrade in terms of technology. From blazing fast WiFi to a connected fan experience from entry to exit is the need of the hour. The Stadium authorities should also ensure that there is sufficient mobile network inside the stadium. The stadium requires way more screens (closer to 8 screens) and that too in 4k resolution for the above 70k fans inside the stadium to enhance their experience. Another required technology is a mobile app for the stadium that can be used for further engagement with the fans with features like to release a seat at the stadium when it’s not in use, helping fans to get around stadium and also allowing them to manage all of their food and beverage purchases.

What are you going to do with $300?

I am getting married in a couple of months, so spent it already! Bought a wardrobe, a refrigerator and a few things to set up my home. 🙂

Congratulations on getting married, Mohzin. Wishing you a lifetime of love and happiness! May the force be with you!

A study conducted by Cisco states that 57% of the fans prefer to watch sports events at home. This means that there is a definite need for Stadiums and venues to re-imagine fan experiences to engage them better. By integrating flexible in-venue Stadium digitization solutions that connects fans to Stadiums, venues can create an immersive experience for fans, and open new monetization opportunities.

Match day experience would no longer mean cheering for the favorite team from the stand. It would include constant engagement and connect between the fans, the game and the venue.

Proximity MX for Stadiums

Proximity MX connects with fans & visitors the moment they enter the stadium. Based on previous visits and history of visiting patterns, Proximity MX learns and knows the visitors. Using WiFi for reach and BLE Beacons for granularity, Proximity MX engages real-time with fans at the stadium through SMS, Email, App, and Smart Captive Portals™.

About July Systems

Founded in 2001, we are pioneers in mobile experience and engagement platforms. Through a process of continuous innovation we have stayed ahead of the curve in a fast changing mobile landscape. We continue to rapidly evolve and grow supporting our customers — some of the best known brands in the world- through cutting-edge technologies, unmatched scalability and reliability. Our Proximity MX platform, revolutionizing location based services, is a result of this journey.

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