Innovation with Impact: How City Football Group is Driving Change with Analytics

Established in May 2013, City Football Group is the owner of a network of football-related businesses in major cities around the world, including football clubs, academies, technical support and marketing companies.

Today, the Group has majority–owned and operated clubs on five continents including Manchester City FC in the Premier League, New York City Football Club in the MLS and Melbourne City FC of the A-League.

City Football Group’s (CFG) global charitable initiative, Cityzens Giving, supports youth-led community football projects in cities worldwide, focused on improving health, education and social inclusion for local young people.

Cityzens Giving uses SAP HANA Cloud, a fully-managed database as a service, and SAP Analytics Cloud, which provides business intelligence (BI), augmented analytics, and enterprise planning capabilities all in one cloud-based solution. Using these solutions, the Cityzens Giving team can now leverage data and analytics to measure how the lives of children in their projects are being positively impacted through football, in cities across the world.

18 charity partners using the custom survey application built by SAP
25,000 young people engaged have already been positively impacted
< 1 second for real time insight of live social impact data coming directly from digital surveys on the field

Challenges: Defining the Data Problem

City Football Group was looking for a solution to more efficiently track and quantify the positive life-changing impact of their community football projects worldwide. In particular, they needed to shift from offline individualized data collection across their grantee network to a smarter solution enabling them to aggregate, analyse and track data across cities and countries.

With a total of 18 charity partners globally, collection and sorting of data was time–consuming and subject to human error. CFG wanted to take their social impact data analytics to the next level. They wanted to be able to slice, dice and interrogate the data collected so they could get a full picture of how their work was impacting city kids. For example, understanding the extent to which football was impacting issue A, B or C in country x, y or z. In this way, they could identify projects delivering stand–out impact (which could be shared with others) or those which needed further support, enabling better diffusion of knowledge and learning within their grantee network.


We are incredibly proud of our partnership with SAP, which as well as helping us to drive performance from the boardroom to the pitch also helps us to more effectively measure the impact of our life-changing Cityzens Giving projects all over the world.

Nuria Tarre, Chief Marketing & Fan Experience Officer, City Football Group

The Solution

Prior to implementing SAP Analytics Cloud, CFG was leveraging a local software system which allowed them to track participation and hours of delivery but struggled to fully showcase the life–changing impact football was having on young people in their programmes.

To tackle these challenges, CFG turned to SAP and implemented an end-to-end solution, offering real-time insights into the impact football was having on participants across the world.

This end-to-end solution includes the following:

  • Custom digital survey application built with SAP Fiori to allow CFG to create customized surveys in six different languages on the fly and in turn, deploy the digital surveys via a URL link to youth in real time. In addition, charities can track and record project metrics such as youth demographics, and yearly growth targets.
  • Custom project tracking application uses SAP Fiori to record project details, financial data and project targets. Project activities can also to be recorded at mid-year and end of year to measure against initial targets, helping CFG in turn to evaluate their investment and make future decisions.
  • SAP Integration Suite fosters real time data integration from the custom digital survey application directly into SAP Analytics Cloud allowing an end-to-end cloud native digital experience.
  • SAP HANA Cloud as the underlying data storage component.
  • SAP Analytics Cloud provides advanced analytics to survey data in real time.

This software allows Cityzens Giving to deploy surveys across the world. Grant reporting and information is captured through survey functionality powered by Fiori. As soon as a grantee submits a survey response, information is collected and stored in SAP HANA Cloud. With this fully-managed database as a service, CFG can connect their disparate data sources in one central access layer. When needed, they can easily scale up their storage capabilities. As this survey data becomes available, CFG can see it through real-time access by connecting SAP Analytics Cloud to SAP HANA Cloud and begin slicing and dicing to pull insights.

All of these functionalities are powered by the SAP Business Technology Platform, which connects business applications, processes, and data through a combination of technologies for database and data management, analytics, application development and integration, and intelligent technologies.

Through SAP Analytics Cloud, Cityzens Giving can generate reports to show the numbers of participants they reach and their demographics, as well as the impact they are having. For instance, the team gets a snapshot of what percentage of kids across the globe in a survey are reporting improvement in areas such as confidence, educational attainment, health, and friendships.

The SAP Analytics Cloud dashboard features geo-spatial filtering and drill–down capabilities for deeper data analysis. In addition, the multi–layer security allows charity partners to analyse project specific insights as well. What’s more, the machine learning functionality in SAP Analytics Cloud “Search to Insight” allows users to ask a question to reveal insights in real-time.

CFG leveraged the expertise and guidance of consultants from the SAP Business Transformation Services Data and Analytics Hub, who took their time at the start of the project to ensure there was time to pilot and test and refine.

We needed an impact measurement system that would work globally, enabling data aggregation, analytics, and more automated data collection tools. SAP created a fully customised solution for us, using their leading-edge technology and a team of dedicated experts. It’s fostered a more data driven culture, which allows us to create even more impact for city kids around the world through the power of football.

Tom Pitchon, Director of City Football Foundation, City Football Group

The Results

After implementing SAP HANA Cloud and SAP Analytics Cloud, CFG can now visualize and understand the impact of football around the globe. The result is a more data-driven culture throughout the foundation.

Not only can CFG’s global foundation now understand youth demographics such as gender breakdown and age across all programs globally, but also measure the positive life change for program participants across all social cause areas. The team can really understand how they are specifically improving lives of young people around the world.

city football group

For CFG, SAP technology has been the key enabler to measure and continuously improve the impact of football on city kids worldwide. Harnessing SAP tools, they can accelerate their mission to uplift the lives of city kids through the power football.

Now we have an integrated dashboard showing us how football is impacting key world issues for young people across the world. This is a game-changer.

Tom Pitchon, City Football Group

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