Saints march forward with game-changing digital media technology

Premier League Southampton FC are a very progressive club on the rise domestically and internationally. The team that play in red and white today can trace their roots back to the club formed in 1885. And they've come a long way since then. Known by their fans as Saints, they’ve been embracing new technology to optimise digital fan engagement, and effectively store, manage and deliver digital media amongst their wide network of photographers, content managers, website developers, players and fans. We spoke to Matt Watson, Southampton FC's club photographer, to find out exactly how they've got there.

Photographers upload via an FTP

As you might imagine, football photographers take thousands of photographs at every match and that's no different for Saints. What is different is the technology they use. Saints' photographers upload their images instantly via FTP to Third Light’s media library. Here, they can be tagged with match data, player data, date data and any other metadata that helps the club store, manage and later find those images so they can be distributed to their media partners, players and fans.

Matt tells us:

"Before Third Light we just had basic folder structures, and trying to find images quickly with so many players, matches and images was so time consuming. One of our players was having a 10 year testimonial, and our team wanted to access to a host of images to reflect his time at the club for the various media channels. The only way to do this was with a slow, manual process sifting through folders. We just needed a solution that would enable us to find stuff easily and quickly - a searchable image archive. Now we have Third Light, we just type a name into our library interface, and all images tagged with that players name will come up. Easy!"

Southampton Football Club, St Mary's Stadium

Southampton Football Club, James Ward-Prowse

Southampton Football Club, Charlie Austin scores

Southampton Football Club, Nathan Redmond

Being able to tag images with data is also key to being able to share specific images with players. Using a function called 'smart folders,' images tagged with a player's name will automatically display in the corresponding folder. Players can then access these images only via their own login to the Third Light platform..

Matt continues:

"Players continuously need images for their own online digital platforms, like social media sites, their own websites and personal PR channels. Smart folders are an excellent way to collate these images so that players can easily access them for their own use."

CDN infrastructure handles hefty website traffic

Saints have also invested in a new website recently to optimise their fan engagement, delivered and supported by the digital agency, UNRVLD. The agency has used Third Light's API to integrate its media library with their own software, which means images can be delivered directly to the website from the media library. Using Third Light’s CDN infrastructure also enables the website to handle the huge amounts of traffic expected from a premier league website.

Matt concludes:

"The website integration is really a bonus for us and as well as the image delivery, it means that we can send live match feeds to our website. This saves the content team hours of work, having to download and format before sending to the website agency. Now the system does it all for us."

Southampton Football Club, Manolo Gabbiadini celebrates

Southampton Football Club, Francis Benali

Southampton Football Club, Ryan Bertrand scores

Southampton Football Club, dressing room celebrations

Third Light works with leading brands worldwide to help them manage, store, share and distribute digital files more effectively. If you think we could help your team too, just [email protected] . Or if you haven't tried our digital media library yet, sign-up today for a 30-day free trial.

Related post: Digital Media Library powers up The IFAB’s Video Assistant Referee project

Related post: Business Weekly - Third Light article

DAM - Digital Asset Management Success Stories