Houston Astros Case Study Celebration Photo
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The Houston Astros Support Their Need for Speed with the Widen Collective®

2017 World Series champions, the Houston Astros, rely on the Widen Collective® to quickly deliver photography across their organization and beyond while laying the groundwork for the visual voice of the team for years to come.

Products used

img_icon-01 Assets

Catalog, control, and distribute rich media assets from a central source of truth.

Insights Insights

Track and measure assets and build site performance dashboards.

Portals Portals

Curate collections of assets and create personalized brand experiences.

127k+

Total assets

33k+

Uploads in the last
12 months

28k+

Downloads in the last
12 months

The Collective helps the Houston Astros quickly and efficiently get their most powerful digital assets to as many facets of their organization and the media as possible.

Streamlining workflows

Enabling PR teams

Making a difference

Challenges 

Major League Baseball (MLB) team, the Houston Astros generate a lot of images, videos, and creative content. “Photography is the visual voice for an organization. It’s the basis of sales, it’s the basis of marketing,” says Alex Bierens de Haan, Team Photographer at Houston Astros.

During a typical game, Alex takes up to 2,000 photographs and two to three times that amount for big-ticket games. The best of these photos are selected and edited in as close to real time as possible to be used across marketing, PR, sales, creative, ticketing, sponsorship, operations, and more.

With calls and emails constantly coming in and being fielded by only a handful of people, the Houston Astros needed to centralize their digital assets so their marketing, community, and media teams could access them as efficiently and quickly as possible. Frustrated with the time-consuming and typically unsuccessful process, the technology support team set out to find a solution.

Objectives

Access
Enable employees to quickly find approved digital assets on their own.

Storytelling
Help teams find the perfect image via a robust search experience.

Speed
Make game day and event photography available as fast as possible.

Analytics
Track asset usage to inform investments in photography.

Solution

A searchable asset library
The Houston Astros selected the Widen Collective as their digital asset management (DAM) system in 2014. “The goal of [Widen] is to get my imagery out to as many facets of the organization that I can get. Because on a day-to-day basis I know it has multiple uses. Within five minutes of an event to within a day, to within a year, to within 10 years,” Alex explains.

The Collective now stores all of their digital assets in a reliable, single source of truth. Users can quickly and easily search the library to find or discover digital assets based on very specific needs and search parameters, such as uniform color, player, stadium, and more.

Assets for now and 150 years from now
The Collective supports the Houston Astros as they continue to build their impressive asset library. Whether it’s a photo from their 2017 World Series win or an image from a few hours ago, their assets are preserved and organized for anyone to access — today or years down the road. “It’s cool to know that my stuff now will stand the test of time because of what we’ve set up,” Alex shares.

“Widen is obviously a big company but you can tell it’s got a small company attitude. And that is customer first. It feels like all hands on deck when it comes to customer service.”

Alex Bierens de Haan,
Team Photographer at Houston Astros

Benefits

Close to real time workflow 
Photography and other digital assets are incredibly important to the Houston Astros. “If I can influence an organization’s outlook in what they’re doing in terms of sales and hype and all of that, I think that’s extremely important,” Alex notes. After images are shot, edited, and finalized, the Collective ensures that photographers like Alex can quickly and efficiently upload and tag photos so they’re accessible almost immediately to anyone throughout the organization.

Searchable assets
The Collective makes it easy for anyone to find what they need without help. “If you can’t find it, it doesn’t exist,” reminds Alex. This means people don’t have to spend time tracking down assets for themselves or others. But it also means that anyone throughout the organization has the tools they need to communicate and tell their brand’s story effectively. “Widen enables me to bring my vision to the whole organization, and then they get to maximize what I’m doing,” says Alex.

Insights that validate business cases
“Widen has been a tool for me that I’ve been able to prove a lot of my business cases,” Alex reports. “How much the organization is leaning on photography. And that has helped me get additional headcount and essentially form a team that I can work with. Just being able to document and see the numbers has really been influential in getting help and taking a pretty significant burden off my shoulders.