Taking Hangouts to a New Level!


The Manchester United “Front Row” experience

It all starts with an IDEA!

Manchester United Front Row Hangout


Manchester United and Google+ teamed up to launch a historic Front Row campaign, which offered a select group of the Reds’ international fanbase the opportunity to “be” at the Theatre of Dreams – live – no matter where they were in the world.

The event was an all time first for football as the Manchester United home game against Liverpool commenced on Sunday 16th March 2014. United fans had the opportunity to cheer on the team, appearing live, via a Google+ Hangout – the free, multi-person video call feature. Throughout the match, Front Row supporters were able to share the magic of being at Old Trafford, joining 75,000 ticket holders and fellow Front Row participants from around the world.

EasE of entry:

Manchester Untied invited fans to simply share a picture on Google+ that showcases their love, passion and commitment to United, along with the hashtag #MUFrontRow. They then created a shortlist of potential participants and, if you were successful, you would make history supporting the Reds as one of the very first Front Row fans in world football.

During the match 20 lucky United fans, from countries including Mexico, Argentina, Malaysia, Russia and India, had the opportunity to cheer on their team live, appearing via Google+ Hangouts – for free, on Old Trafford’s pioneering, pitch side digital hoardings.

Each Front Row participant received professional photographs of their appearance, as well as a mention on United’s Google+ page, shared with nearly two million followers.


Putting aside Manchester United’s terrible performance against Liverpool on the day, the live Front Row hangout made several appearances. Personally, I expected the fans to be visible throughout the game, however they only aired snippets of fans reactions that were not always live.

The Buzz:

News of this Hangout spread and generated traction through Google+, appealing to both Manchester United fans and social media agencies because of the innovation in using Hangouts to engage with this massive global brand and its army of fans.

The event generated a lot of questions, mostly how Manchester United could have delivered the engagement of the event better?

I had rather hoped for a huge social media buzz and a frenzy of fan reactions to the event. The hashtag #MUFrontRow was trending on Google+, however there was hardly any mention of the hashtag or event on Twitter or Facebook.

Manchester United and Google+ have confirmed they will be releasing a follow up report on the event. But, I wonder if they will continue to launch hangouts for future games?

So, what can we learn from Manchester United’s hangout experiment?

  • Idea – try to make it a media first and make a thing of it!
  • Ease of engagement – make entering a Google hangout competition available for all followers
  • Delivery – Make sure it gets the exposure it deserves with other social media channels supporting it
  • Buzz – Did it create frenzy? Did people even recognise it was happening? Make sure you know how to measure it and set some targets.




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