Exclusive: Manchester City Signs Multi-Year Partnership With iON Cameras
Man City has signed a multi-year partnership deal with camera company iON to become the club's official global sports action camera partner. The deal, which was formally announced on Monday night, will see iON cameras being used for training, coaching and scouting at the Premier League outfit. In addition, iON cameras will also be used to enhance the matchday experience of supporters through the installation of iON fan booths in BT City Square, the club’s purpose-built fan entertainment zone outside of Etihad Stadium. iON CEO Giovanni Tomaselli said, "We are looking at various ideas and concepts. Fans are very eager to digest more and more content, and that’s what we are providing." The ideas iON is looking at range from second screen to alternative use during practice. Tomaselli told SBD Global that nothing has been finalized, but he mentioned attaching cameras to goal posts or players' heads during practice to get those perspectives and point of views. Man City Chief Commercial & Operating Officer Tom Glick said, "The nature of the innovative content will also be a big hit with our fans around the world, especially during our international preseason tours, where the cameras will play a key role." A major focus of the three-year partnership will be on the use of iON's products to analyze the performance of first team and youth players. Some of iON's cameras have GPS capabilities, which allow coaches to track a player's speed and acceleration. In addition, the camera brand recently acquired web-based scouting and coaching tool PowerChalk. Tomaselli said that the combination of PowerChalk and iON cameras provides a solution for sports franchises such as Man City. He said, "They are looking for solutions and not devices. We are delivering a complete solution. That’s what we are about." PowerChalk allows coaches to upload videos of young players onto the platform, where Man City scouts have the opportunity to spot players without having to travel through the countryside. Tomaselli said, "We presented that [idea] to the Man City guys, and they were very excited because it gives them the ability to spread it out to their minor leagues and feeder junior league."
GLOBAL APPEAL: The Man City deal is iON's first with an English Premier League club. Tomaselli said that in comparison to its competitors, iON has always had the intention of going after mainstream sports and not only catering to surfers and skaters. The fact that Man City is not only a household name in the U.K. but around the world was very enticing for iON in entering into this partnership. Tomaselli said, "We were always looking at how do we go after things that allow us to leverage both sides of the ocean -- likewise on the Pacific and across the Atlantic." With Man City being the majority owner of Major League Soccer side NYC FC and A-League club Melbourne Hearts, iON found an ideal partner for its philosophy. Tomaselli also said that the club is already looking into Asia. "I’m sure that’s not too far away as well," Tomaselli said.