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FC Bayern Basketball: A revolutionary digital fan experience for a world-class sports team

We worked closely with FC Bayern Basketball to create a fan experience ecosystem that seamlessly connects the digital and physical worlds. Starting with a pioneering app that enables new ways of fan interaction and allows innovative visitor services for the future SAP Garden, we are giving fans the opportunity to connect with the team way beyond the court.

Shows 3 mobile phones with different screens and features from the FCBB fan app

Technologies used

  • React Native
  • Typescript
  • NodeJS
  • Serverless
  • Contentful

The challenge

With the opening of the new SAP Garden arena coming up in 2024, BBL Pokal winner FC Bayern Basketball joined forces to create tomorrow’s fan journey already today.

Embracing their shared ambition, the clubs signed an innovation contract for creating the best and most sustainable sports experience in Germany – from booking, ticketing and navigation to loyalty programs, live game center, video highlights and merchandise creation.

The ultimate goal was to recognize and deepen the relationship towards the team’s most loyal fans while offering a great onboarding experience for upcoming and more casual basketball fans. A team of service and UX designers initially created a digital touchpoint concept, starting with the most fan-centric features that bring information to fans as fast as possible.

While the motivation of FC Bayern Basketball and the SAP Garden Arena for creating the best possible digital fan journey roots in the same fan-centric ideology, the starting points differed. Within Munich Basketball, the FCBB app is a first and needed to be a slam dunk for the club. Sticking with the “We ball together”-attitude, the cross-functional team of designers, technologists and innovators decided to go for a first-time launch of the FCBB app.

All this was happening while the new venue was still under construction, requiring the apps to have innovative features for the SAP Arena and accommodating the existing individual arenas such as the BMW Park. The vision of creating the perfect digital journey for the current and future settings was a perfect fit to the Futurice “Love the problem, not the solution” attitude, mixed with a shared passion for sports.

Impact and Outcomes

  • 21 000+Downloads

  • 4.9/5User rating on the app store

  • State-of-the-art tech stack

    • Cloud-powered React app with a headless content management
    • AI video player
    • Fan-centric game centre with MyPlayer section

What we did

We set out to create a common digital platform that covers the needs of sports clubs at their current and future locations as well as at home and on the road. We wanted to empower any fan, team, performer, partner and event heading to SAP Garden or BMW Park by building an experience ecosystem with a best-in-class ease of use – no matter where you are.

Sticking true to the aimed promise of “Everything around FCBB in one place – any time, anywhere, live!”, we set out to create a common design concept for both of these unique brands as well as an AWS-based Cloud backend for the web and mobile apps. Starting with user research across the various fan groups, from loyal fans to first-time visitors, we created a user journey from awareness towards the club over following every hoop through the game center to buying your merch in the app with your loyalty points.

Working closely with product owners from FCBB and other clubs, our starting point towards the UX/UI design and development was to find synergies between the various user needs, integrate the requirements of the different sports, leagues or locations, and achieve a clear prioritization of the touchpoint features.

Our approach was to align requirements on a common denominator to keep the workload for both brands synced, while still being able to branch out where necessary. This made it possible to have one single dedicated team working for both clubs.

Building on a new design system for the different brands, we created extensive MVPs of the mobile apps relying on a common framework and modern architecture while at the same time integrating various league APIs of e.g. BBL and Champions League. True to the future arena’s name integration with SAP backend systems (like Ticketing and Merchandise Shop) was key in delivering state of the art features to the users. Also, best tools of the trade services such as Contentful and Cloudinary for editorial experience were also added to the mix to not only please fans but also the editorial team behind the scenes.

Continuous delivery is at the heart of our operations. True to industry trends, automation is essential here, so we automated processes from development states, staging and production releases as much as possible. This enabled an agile team of developers to push new release candidates in a matter of minutes, leading to improvements and bug fixes in two weeks cycles. Over one year after launch, fans have clearly shown their love for the app and gave it an average rating of 4.9/5 in the Apple app store.

Why it matters

Fans are the core of any sports team: they are the heart and the soul of the club, no matter if at the arena or in front of the TV. We wanted to create a digital experience platform that matches this passion, starting with an app that allows a great mix of storytelling, videos, news and data. Accompanying fans throughout their game journey, they have the possibility to buy and store their tickets in app, watch AI-driven video highlights, follow all the news around the team or personalize their game experience and merchandise through the “My Player” section. And during the game, the game center in the mobile app enables a second screen experience, so that fans can get even closer to their team.

This is made possible through the connection of the digital platform towards various external and internal API-based services with an ease to integrate more services in the future, so that it can handle everything needed to support various use cases and points of purchase today and in the future. The user-centric features provide various interaction points before, during, and after the game – whether in your living room, on the go or in the arena. With a customizable navigation and modern headless CMS, the club has complete control over the user experience at any given time.

Thinking ahead, the mobile touchpoint is setting the scene for an interactive future at the SAP Garden and will allow fans to discover the new venue as well as experience a completely new dimension of spectatorship. From first rank to lounge, from parking to food, the court and everything around it will be accompanied through a digital layer. We are looking forward to a great opening of the SAP Garden in 2024 and wish FC Bayern Basketball all the best for the current season at BMW Park.

About FCBB

Since 1946, FC Bayern Basketball, FC Bayern Munich's professional basketball division, has built a prominent legacy in Germany's premier Basketball Bundesliga (BBL) and internationally. Known as a German basketball titan, the club frequently competes in the EuroLeague against other elite teams. Their thrilling matches take place at Munich's BMW Park, where they also run comprehensive youth development programs. The SAP Garden, their advanced venue, underscores FC Bayern Basketball's commitment to excellence and fan engagement.

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