Fan Coin Idea Wins SAP Challenge at #FCBayernHackDays

At the first FC Bayern Munich-hosted #FCBayernHackDays, hackathon veteran Peter Ma and his team competed against 40 others, winning the SAP Challenge “Fan Activation 4.0” but coming second overall with their Fan Coin idea.

When Peter Ma took to the stage in Säbener Lounge in Munich’s Allianz Arena, it was immediately obvious that he was no stranger to public speaking. The 34-year-old New Yorker, who now lives in San Francisco, has already participated in more than 100 hackathons. And in his career as a prototyping consultant, he’s already been awarded 20 grand checks – trophies for winning programming contests. Rubber stamps from countries throughout the world adorn his passport; he’s a globetrotter on the hacker circuit.

SAP Challenge: Fan Activation 4.0

It’s therefore no wonder that Ma was selected to be one of 220 participants among 1,300 applicants from 40 nations to take part in the first #FCBayernHackDays in Munich – as a member of the four-person Fan Coin team that was pitched against five other teams in the SAP Challenge. The task was to create “fascinating and innovative fan experiences using digital technologies” or, put more succinctly, Fan Activation 4.0. The idea that finally won over the SAP jurors involves giving blockchain technology an emotional value.

“How many of you own bitcoins?” Ma asks the audience. One hand goes up. Ma then says: “Take a look at your neighbor. Remember his face. He’s rich.” However, anyone able to purchase a Fan Coin would be emotionally richer than any cryptocurrency owner, Ma explains. But it’s still just an idea, a vision for the future.

The Blockchain Fan Coin: 100 Coins for a Goal

This is how the Fan Coin works: Every single goal that FC Bayern scores – for example, against Werder Bremen recently – could potentially generate any number of Fan Coins. Let’s say 100. And if, as happened that weekend against Bremen, striker Thomas Müller scores his 100th Bundesliga goal, fans can collect even more Fan Coins and acquire even more emotional wealth. For goals of outstanding importance, such as the one 16 years ago by Patrik Andersson, who scored four minutes into injury time to snatch the title back from Schalke 04, the Fan Coins have a particularly special emotional value. Ma calls these concentrated virtual emotions “crypto collectables.” All the fans are urged to amass as many Fan Coins as they can to become the “super fan.”

The Jury’s Verdict: “Sustainable and Secure”

Fan Coin accounts can be topped up in other ways. For instance, 100 randomly selected fans at the stadium could be credited with extra Fan Coins for every Bayern goal of the match. Or, FC Bayern could “reward” fans with Fan Coins if they have a season ticket, are members of the FCB KidsClub, attend a match, or buy fan merchandise.

“The idea is sustainable. There’s no limit to the number of new tactics you can find,” says Jan Patrzalek, Global Head SAP Sports & Entertainment Solution Management. With the help of SAP Cloud Platform, information about fans flows straight into their profiles in the SAP Hybris Marketing and SAP Hybris Profile solutions.

Ultimately, the Fan Coin gives the club ever sharper insights into every individual in its fan universe. On the technical side of things, Fan Coin transactions are recorded using a blockchain. “This means it’s inherently resistant to modification,” explains Patrzalek, who chose the Fan Coin team as the victors with help from his jury colleagues SAP Hybris developer Christoph Pattberg and Cora Ackermann from the Global Sponsorship Team at SAP.

“Become Your Hero” and “Every Voice Matters”

“The other teams developed amazing ideas, too,” says Patrzalek. For example, one of the developer teams created a digital image of Bayern stars with the title “Become Your Hero.” The idea here is that the app’s users can improve the skills of their own soccer avatar by, for example, going for a run to increase stamina, taking an emotional selfie to boost motivation, or linking up with other fans to strengthen team spirit.

Another team, “Every Voice Matters,” explored how the opinions of micro-influencers can impact fan profiles. To analyze fans’ needs and work out how they can best be addressed individually, this concept doesn’t look at what jerseys or scarfs they buy, but rather what they think according to their comments on social media. Like the information generated from the avatar game, the micro-influencers’ opinions leave clues in their profiles, which then become ever more precise.

Overall Winner: Adidas Tackles Mobile Conversion Rates

The teams in the other challenges were assigned different tasks. The Audi Challenge developers looked at ways to turn car journeys into a fan experience, while the FC Bayern Challenge developers pondered how technologies could create new fan experiences. They devised a voice recognition system called “You Never Sing Alone” that translates fans’ singing into other languages, despite the roar of the stadium crowd.

However, the overall winners were the Adidas Challenge champions. They were tasked with finding a way to increase the number of mobile purchase decisions through mobile interaction. The Adidas team developed a gamification approach whereby players complete tasks and are awarded points that they can then redeem in the form of a voucher after they have registered. Each completed task – for example, three tuck jumps in 15 seconds – is uploaded as a video to the Bayern platform. Only then are players credited with points and can proceed to the next level in the challenge.

Peter Ma wasn’t bothered by “only” coming second with his team. He’s already gearing up for his next hackathon in Dubai, checking that his passport has a free page for the next stamp, and honing his next pitch – with the tried-and-true formula: “Don’t be nervous. Have fun. Enjoy the moment.”