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ESF Events

New sports apps from Xibis provide real-time score centre functionality for over 60,000 youth sports participants, plus parents, supporters and organisers

ESF Events App Launch

ESF EventsWith a passion for sport and over 30 years experience organising some of the UK’s most prestigious youth sporting events, ESF Events is the leading specialist sports tour operator in the UK.

Since its first event in 1989, over one million people have put their trust in ESF and participated in its youth sports festivals including:

  • Rhinos Challenge – with 170 teams and 6,000 people participating, the Rhinos Challenge is the biggest youth rugby league festival in the UK
  • ESF 2019 - with 1,200 teams and 40,000 people participating, ESF is the biggest youth football festival in the UK
  • Tigers Challenge - with 400 teams and 12,000 people participating every year, the Tigers Challenge is the biggest residential rugby festival of its kind in the UK

Technology underpins event development

iPhone X - ESF Events Tigers Challenge Home PageWith so many scorelines, fixtures and communications required for organisers, competitors and families alike, ESF Events is increasingly looking to technology to support the delivery of its events.

Since 2013, ESF has used a bespoke web solution developed by Xibis for both scheduling tournaments and for providing a ‘score centre’ web solution that enables parents to monitor the progress of their children's team.

To help the company to deliver its events even more effectively, Xibis has now launched a new suite of iOS and Android dedicated score centre apps for ESF Events.

Matching ESF Events' ambition

There are three native apps for each platform (iOS and Android), and each is dedicated to ESF Events’ major brands: Tigers Challenge (Rugby Union), Rhinos Challenge (Rugby League) and the ESF Festival of Football.

Martyn Young, Director of ESF Events takes up the story: "A few years ago now, we worked with Xibis on an online system that would allow us to provide scores in near real-time for parents, coaches and teams via a web-front-end. This was also adapted to a mobile web solution so that people could follow remotely on their phones."

"As the tournaments grew in stature and were elevated from grassroots events to a more professional level, the 'guest experience' has also become more important to us. Consequently, we looked at ways in which to communicate the match scores more effectively and flexibly."

Google Pixel Phone - ESF Events Rhinos Challenge Team Results"We had lots of positive feedback on the website and one option was to move forward by just re-skimming the existing site but we were more ambitious than that and tasked Xibis with creating a series of specific apps for each brand."

"Feedback on the new apps has been excellent"

The new apps include updates of results, schedules and tables, and were modelled on the functionality of leading sports apps such as Sky Sports and BBC Sport. ESF skins were also added to photos for brand awareness on social media.

Martyn Young continues: "Building and rolling out the apps was a simple transition internally and we worked well with Xibis and their design partner, Magnetic Studios. Xibis were quick to react to any changes and they guided us through the layout of the apps and how they would work. We set a challenging timescale and although it went right to the wire, we loved it as soon as it launched."

"Feedback on the new apps has been excellent and they were a great addition to 2019 festivals. They’ve given children and their parents way beyond what they would expect. We even ranked in the Top 25 sports apps in Apple’s App Store – above Man Utd!"

Looking to improve in 2020 and beyond

"We're already thinking about modifications for events in 2020," says Martyn. "Booking systems, photo sales (from professional sports photographers) and team registrations have all been discussed and we’ve had additional requests for functionality from children, organisers and supporters." 

"As we continue to develop the apps, we're looking to give more control to individual teams and players over capturing and displaying images, biographies and statistics. We can also personalise it for kids and parents, and possibly think about live streaming of fixtures and finals. Lots of ideas for both us and Xibis to think about!"

Android Phone laying on a note book - Rhinos Challenge Home Screen

"Feedback on the new apps has been excellent and they were a great addition to 2019 festivals. They’ve given children and their parents way beyond what they would expect. We even ranked in the Top 25 sports apps in Apple’s App Store – above Man Utd!"

Martyn Young | Director | ESF Events

Android Phone laying on a desk with earphones - Rhinos Challenge Home Screen

Get in touch

Xibis Limited, 67 London Road,
Oadby, Leicester LE2 5DN

Or call us on

0116 272 9990