There is a widespread stereotype, depicting coding and programming as solitary tasks, performed in remote windowless spaces, removed from audiences and reality. Nothing could be further from the truth when it comes to FC Bayern München’s #HackDays. The Bundesliga record champion club’s inaugural hackathon not only brought together 226 exceptionally bright technology-forward minds for a supersized digital think tank, but it allowed for the participants from 43 countries to mingle with die-hard fans before and during the Bavarians’ Bundesliga match against SV Werder Bremen, test their novel ideas right there, and feed off audience reactions. Those synergies created not only inspiring and promising projects, but they set the tone for the entire event.
Four days long from sun up to sun down the best party in town–or so described FC Bayern’s Executive Board Chairman, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, the overall mood at the HackDays: “The atmosphere was like a big celebration. Digitisation will play a major role for us this year; it’ll be a key aspect of our strategy off the pitch.”
The club is looking for innovative approaches to connect with audiences outside of the Allianz Arena. “In a digital world, our goal is to reach and create sustainable relationships with our fans”, said Stefan Mennerich, FC Bayern’s Director Media, Digital and Communications: “It was important to us that the participants really burn for the club or at least for football.” Focus of the HackDays was the creation of new fan experiences with tech in general. Six of the seven different challenges asked the participants to develop solutions for FC Bayern München’s supportive partners–Telekom, adidas, Audi, SAP, Siemens, and DHL—while the final challenge focused on the club. A variety of industry leaders in the technology and start-up field served as expert speakers and mentors, monitored the progress, and picked promising winners.
It’s the participants’ deeply-rooted understanding of the passion-driven fan mind that made all the difference, as many of the hackathoners are football fans themselves. Just as importantly, many of the participating coders, programmers, designers and developers are digital natives. Teamwork and communication was key throughout the four days, as many collaborators only met on site. With varying backgrounds, often fuelled by their diverse cultural heritages, teams approached their tasks with excitement, open hearts, and a common goal in mind: fan-centric benefits. The HackDays’ winning project by team “Beat adidas” is providing just that. They have created an app that rewards users with online shop rebates, if the users complete small physical challenges while holding their smartphones. A little tongue-in-cheek, the app is geared towards increasing the online shop’s mobile conversion rate as it invites fans to engage with both the club and partner adidas in a fun and entertaining way that fits right into the party mood Rummenigge described.
“An amazing experience,” said Christoph Hamsen from winning team “Beat adidas,” glowing with excitement. So amazing, in fact, that Hamsen forewent sleep for much of the four days. Just what anyone would do, if they attended the party of their life.
Learn more about the event at hackdays.fcbayern.com.