Welcome back to Industry Insider by Behind Sport. Our latest guest is The Football Associations Digital Content Operations Manager, Jayvik Patel!
Tell us about yourself, what is your current role and what roles have you done previously?
I’m Jayvik Patel, Digital Content Operations Manager at The Football Association (The FA). Before The FA, I was at KPMG UK, managing the website operations and working with the global team in Canada. Prior to KPMG, I was part of the Marketing team at PayPoint, working across Marketing campaigns, leading CRM activity and supporting the Collect+ partnership with Yodel. Furthermore, I was at a Brand Asset Management agency – Adgistics (part of WPP), leading on website projects and also a British manufacturing company – Amelec Instruments, as a Marketing Technologist driving eCommerce innovation in the B2B industry.
What do you do in your current role?
My current role at The FA focuses on driving operations and innovations across our website presence. The primary focus revolves around TheFA.com and driving engagement across different audiences i.e. fans, players and coaches. I create new pages, sections, resource hubs etc. to support Marketing objectives as the website plays a pivotal role in various projects.
In addition, each county has its own website which is powered by the technology stack at The FA. As part of the Website Working Group, I collaborate with the Digital Technology Team on these 50 County Football Associations (CFAs). This means I get to explore and advise on several local Marketing activations across England.
What does a normal week look like for you?
A typical working week involves understanding different requirements for campaigns/projects from Marketing, Brand, Commercial, Grassroots and other business teams that the website plays a part in. In addition, exploring new technologies to streamline and generate efficiencies in internal ways of working. Working from home during the pandemic involved more virtual meetings which makes me appreciate the view at the office a lot more.
How did you end up where you are right now? When did you know you wanted to work in sport?
My career has always revolved around Marketing & Technology, whether that’s website, apps, social media, email. I have worked in various industries, such as payments, manufacturing, professional services but the sports industry was one I never thought I would get an opportunity to work in.
I was looking for a change few years ago and came across a role at The FA on LinkedIn. Working in my current role, combines both my passions for Technology and Football into one.
What is your number one focus when it comes to your work?
For me it’s all about questioning every digital interaction, every touchpoint through the mindset of our audience. So, whether they read a news article, watch a video on The FA SuperKicks hub, download the latest COVID-19 Grassroots guidance, my aim is to make sure the experience is smooth. It’s attending to the little details that form part of a larger website journey which satisfies the person across our websites.
What’s been your favourite moment whilst working in sports?
So, one of my proudest moments was when one of my colleagues appeared on BBC’s Breakfast Show to talk about UEFA EURO 2020 and the volunteering opportunities available.
During the show, my colleague advised that volunteering application portal is now live on TheFA.com/EURO2020, which then led Louise Minchin to say:
“Hope your website is ready!”
It was a surreal moment where something I had worked on, crafted and put together was called out on TV. Sometimes it’s hard to describe to my family and friends what I do exactly, so I have that clip saved to show remind them occasionally.
On a personal level, taking my Dad and brother to their first England and FA Cup matches at Wembley Stadium will always be a special memory for me. Furthermore, I got the chance to play a staff football match on the hallowed turf and scored a penalty…. ensue the knee slide celebration!
What do you think is next for your industry?
For the sports industry, I see technology driving a massive change in the overall match day experience. BT have made a massive upgrade to their BT Sport with amazing new features. Augmented Technology has the power to bring fans even closer to the game, which given the COVID-19 environment we are in, allows us to feel more connected to the game than ever before.
In your area of work, what is something you feel most people don’t talk about enough or focus on enough?
For me it’s the ‘mechanical’ workings of a website that creates this platform which should receive more attention. People’s expectations of what a website should be is very high…often you hear ‘the website should be as fast as Google’ and ‘easy to search as Amazon’.
The amount of work and technology that goes into enabling blazing fast websites in mind-blowing. You are competing for every nanosecond of a user’s attention once they land on your site. If the page/site, doesn’t load within 2/3 seconds, you feel a sense of frustration. The technology in enabling fast response websites should be talked about more.
What is one piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to work in the sports industry?
Pick a discipline and become the go-to person for it. When I started in Marketing, I was focused on several key disciplines…social media, e-commerce, email, print. Over time my interests and passion changed, and I found myself drawn to the inner workings of websites. I made sure I knew about the latest solutions, how technology powers it, what is possible.
Being disciplined in this approach allows you to be more confident and whenever someone has a question or looks to you for advice, you can answer them with 100% certainty which goes a long way with people.
In my spare time, I’m always trying to make sure I’m well-informed of the latest trends and new technologies out there.
How to follow Jayvik Patel on social media…
Follow The FA’s social channels, you can find them in the footer of TheFA.com.
I’ve quite active on Twitter (@Jazzfm88), so stop by to talk all things sports/technology.
Thanks for reading our Industry Insider with Jayvik Patel! If you want to read more from the series, you can do so by clicking here.