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Getting fans Footy Fit

Thursday 15 December 2016

A new app aimed at getting football fans to think more about exercise has just been launched and it could help people shed those extra pounds put on during the festive period.

Footy Fit, designed by digital experts from the University of Salford, will allow fans of clubs who are signed up to the app to compete with each other in fitness challenges such as who has walked or jogged the longest distance.

Rochdale AFC are one of the first teams to sign up to Footy Fit and will be holding a series of events at the Crown Oil Arena to get fans involved in shaping the design of the app.

It is hoped to eventually get professional footballers to play along so that fans can compete with those players as well as fellow fans to see how fit they can get.

The North West as a whole recently came near the bottom of league tables for health and fitness, with rates of heart disease and stroke among the highest in the country. Sports clubs in the region believe they could be doing more to combat this, as a duty of care to their fans. It has long been known that many football fans in areas of high depravation face increased health inequalities and it is something that many clubs are acutely aware of. By hosting the app Rochdale AFC can start to tackle these inequalities and return the support to the fans!

Alex Fenton, designer of Footy Fit and lecturer in digital business from the University of Salford Business School, said: “Working with Rochdale AFC and fans to design the new app with a user centred design approach is crucial for the project and our research. We had designed this fitness app and were thinking about how to get as many people as possible involved. This is a great opportunity for us to work with great community focused clubs like Rochdale AFC and set a wide range of student projects on this real world project.

“By signing up Rochdale AFC hopefully we can do that. All the fans will be able to download the app in the team colours, with official badges and specially created content, and compete with each other to see who is the fittest and who is making the most progress in getting fitter.

“This is a really fun way to help football fans get fit this winter. It is yet another great example of the kind of work we do at Salford, working directly with industry professionals such as Rochdale AFC to try to get the best results we can and create real world impact.”

The team at Salford will be using the initial data they get from the project to see if and how they can improve Footy Fit.

Andrew Kelly, Rochdale AFC Director for the Academy, said: “We are very keen for our fans and the young people we work with to get involved with this. A lot of fans from all clubs just come to the games, maybe after being in the pub, and watch twenty two athletes run around the pitch, without doing any exercise themselves.

“At Rochdale AFC we want to try to change that and this could be one great way of doing it. If we can get just a few fans to become more active thanks to this app then it will be worthwhile.”

The event to find out more about footy fit will be held at the Crown Oil arena on 20th December at 5.45pm – 7pm.

Find out more

Sam Wood

0161 295 5361