The Fan Fit Project

The exciting area of digital fitness is a booming industry. Research by Accenture estimated the health and wellbeing global market to grow to $737 billion by 2018. Fitness hardware and software such as smartphone apps support this growth with an estimated 1.7 billion people having at least one digital health app installed. The Fan Fit project aims to create fitness apps for people that may not traditionally have used fitness apps or wristbands.

Fan Fit started off life as an idea to engage football fans through their love of their favourite teams. The idea was to combine fitness as gamification with social media information from their club using a white label approach. We undertook several research projects at the University working with Masters and Undergraduate students. It showed us that there was great interest from the public for our proposal but that we should look beyond football.

The Team & Partnerships

In this phase of the project over the last 12 months, we have been able to bring together a team of staff and students and rebrand the project to become Fan Fit to reflect the wider audience. This phase has seen more excellent research and practical projects from our students which have seen the project rebranded to Fan Fit with a great new website. In addition, graphic design and app development students have worked together with digital marketing and user experience students and external companies.

A new partner was identified as Salford Red Devils rugby club and we were able to produce a new version called Red Devils Fit. This applied the underlying principles of Fan Fit, that is, the ability to track walking and running, combined with social media feeds and video with live information embedded directly into the app within the Red Devils brand. Red Devils Fit has become the first official app that the club has had, so we are helping to break new ground for the club, engaging fans through their love of the club and creating a friendly competition between fans around fitness as gamification.

Fan Fit

Aside from several student projects, in this phase, we have also been able to write a white paper and an academic paper, which we hope to publish over the coming months. The idea of these papers and this blog post is to disseminate the research we have done, whilst seeking new interested participants in the project. This could be managers of sports teams, educational brands or staff/students who wish to get involved with the project as it develops.  One exciting development in the next phase is the opportunity to turn Fan Fit into a spin out company. This involves staff and students working together to bring together their research and other work to evaluate the potential for commercialisation.