Microsoft has signed a landmark agreement with Spanish football giant, Real Madrid, to accelerate the digital transformation of the Club.
The collaboration agreement will aim to the business with Microsoft services and devices, such Surface Pro 3 being used by players and coaching staff as key work tools.
The announcement follows a long list of Microsoft partnerships in the global sporting arena with some of the world’s biggest sporting brands – Italy’s AC Milan, the Lotus Formula 1 team and America’s National Football League.
Microsoft corporate vice president and chairman, emerging market, Orlando Ayala, said the digital platform the company was designing with Real Madrid was "maniacally" focused on putting fans at the centre, and opening access and control of rich content and experiences that bring them closer to their passion for the game and the team.
"Powered by Microsoft’s Cloud solutions, we will offer fans exclusive, personalised and customised content and digital services, available at Santiago Bernabéu stadium and from any location through virtual access to the stadium before, during and after each match," he said.
"So fans will be able to choose not only what content they want to access – but also create their own customised versions of an experience whenever, however, and from wherever. And because sport is intrinsically community oriented, we’re setting up social and other digital ways for fans to share these experiences with friends and family in real time.
"This is a four-year vision that will truly change the game for Real Madrid, and enable their fans to enjoy their passion in a unique way."
A host of online services will also provide an enriched experience for watching matches.
For instance, supporters of the club will be able to access the stadium virtually, before, during and after each game, selecting the content they want to see when they want to and where they want to see it.
The aim of this technological initiative is to make fans the real stars of their own experience by allowing them to view and consume the content they want and also create and share it with their friends on social media and other digital channels.
Ayala said the partnership would also harness Microsoft's Big Data products.
"Alongside the movement of content digitisation, one of the most remarkable trends I’ve seen to date is the power of data visualisation to illustrate data in more meaningful ways than ever before,"
"Graphics often do a better job communicating a message than numbers or words.
"These days, we are all used to seeing in newspapers, magazines and the Web, infographics that do a great job of telling a compelling story.
"But from the moment it is published, the data is out of date, and maybe you wanted to know more or go deeper, but can’t with that image.
"This is the real revolution with what we are doing with Real Madrid.
He said the vision was to really enable a dynamic platform that would provide incredible capability in reaching insights and uncovering new ideas, giving fans the opportunity to be the drivers of this discovery and the authors of their own stories.