Openfield and Vodacom Soccer USSD scoop coveted Discovery Sports Industry Award

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Openfield and Vodacom Soccer walked away with the ‘Best use of Digital Communications in Sport’ Award at the Discovery Sport Industry Awards 2016.

This is the second consecutive year that Openfield has won this category at the Sports Industry Awards, with the Vodacom Rugby App being recognised in 2015 as the worthy winner. The honour of winning this prestigious Award for the second time justifies Openfield’s strategy to embrace the fast evolving digital world by establishing its own in-house digital team.[/fusion_text][/one_half][fusion_text]According to the judging criteria, Digital Communications is seen as any commercial activity that is interactive and/or digitally distributed, in particular through internet platforms, mobile communications and social media.

Judges were looking to reward entries that delivered tangible evidence of results including where appropriate financial details of business growth and evidence of results that were clear, concise and stood up to scrutiny, in particular with regard to the use of research figures where the exact method used to produce these figures was detailed.

The Award recognised Vodacom’s USSD platform, which has over 3.6 million users. With USSD, fans are brought even closer to their teams by giving them an opportunity to follow their favourite clubs and receive up-to-date news on the Vodacom Soccer Service.

Up against some stiff competition in the “Best Use of Digital Communications in Sport” category and in a room filled with more than 1200 of the top people in the world of sport sponsorship, Openfield and the Vodacom Soccer USSD came out on top beating the likes of Cricket South Africa’s #ProteaFire campaign and SA Rugby’s Springboks Home Ground Advantage to win the category.

Openfield’s soccer division made up of Business Director John Faia, Thabo Phiri (Kaizer Chiefs account manager), Thokozani Mlauli (Orlando Pirates account manager) and Ntsika Msuthu (Soccer PR), were instrumental in bringing the different role players together and strategising the way forward to best showcase the USSD platform. A comprehensive Content Plan, together with creative imagery, was developed and rolled out over an 8 month period to ensure the platform delivered the quality content and service soccer fans expect.

Apart from utilising digital and social media channels, Openfield used on the ground activations at selected home Chiefs and Pirates games including the Soweto Derby, to make sure the soccer loving public was aware of the service offered by Vodacom. The stadium activations were supported by LED board messaging, pamphlets and exposure in the Match Day Programs.

“It was a privilege and honour to work on Vodacom’s USSD soccer platform over the past year. The amazing results and numbers achieved show that whilst a myriad of digital platforms exist, the basic USSD platform still plays a relevant and important role with sports loving fans. The success achieved would not have been possible without the hard work of all role players including Cerebra, Mobi Media and Vodacom”, commented John Faia, Openfield’s Business Director for Vodacom Soccer

“This award is testament of the huge strides that Vodacom Soccer has made in the digital space. The amazing growth in numbers is a clear indication of how bringing together the different elements of digital communications can produce a product that soccer loving South Africans are able to interact with on a daily basis. We are proud of our partners and fellow colleagues who worked well as a team to deliver a digital engagement platform which engages with over 3 million subscribers on a weekly basis”, added Rowen Gangulu, Vodacom Brand Manager – Sponsorship.