Smart Stadia in Football

Many stadia managers and clubs are investigating smart technologies such as multi-application smartcards, cashless payment, near field communications (NFC), and short message service (SMS) to provide a better customer experience, generate additional revenue and deliver cost efficiencies. The stadia sector can use any combination of smart technologies to provide a more enjoyable experience for customers, including easy access to the event, convenient ticket purchase, shorter queues within the stadium – which will also provide opportunities to generate additional revenue for the club.

On the surface, these time-saving technologies sound like the way forward, and indeed the growing view from early adopters is that they are. However, it is important to understand that clubs and their customers will not receive the maximum benefits from these technologies without a holistic approach to the underlying customer relationship management (CRM) system within the organisation.

Some stadia have already deployed single-use smartcards, some have piloted dual-use cards and one or two have small NFC trials. However most are not moving beyond using the smartcard for season tickets, with access to the stadium only. They are, therefore, missing out on the extensive benefits that could be achieved if they adopted a fully integrated smart technology scheme and interfaced that with an existing CRM system.

CRM is not necessarily needed for a smart technology scheme to deliver many of the customer benefits. However, if the club is to realise the scheme’s benefits around increased revenue, then a fully integrated CRM is essential. A fully integrated CRM system that is planned and implemented well can help stadia managers ensure the security of the stadium and the safety of customers. It will also provide clubs with data that can be used to develop a comprehensive marketing strategy.

Benefits for customer and club

Implementing a multi-application smart technology scheme with a card management system (CMS) that interfaces directly with the CRM gives customers access to a number of functions via a single smartcard or mobile phone. These functions can include access to the stadium, cashless payment, an information and club news service in the stadium and other locations (such as train stations and shopping centres), ticket purchasing from smart posters (which can again be positioned both in the stadium and in other locations), e-ID and e-booking.

Besides improving the customer experience, benefits to the club can include better marketing information enabling more targeted marketing campaigns, efficiencies in back office processing, increased revenue, cost reductions (including savings on tickets and merchandise), increased attendances and help in resolving the ‘half-time challenge’ of serving all customers. เว็บบาคาร่า อันดับ1

Marketing opportunities

It is simply not possible to develop a truly comprehensive-customer centric marketing approach without a smart technology scheme. Until all the interactions the customer has with a club are recorded in a central repository for analysis, the full picture is not understood. For example, if a club knows that a customer purchased a child’s shirt it is able to offer related children’s products at a discounted rate or a family-oriented matchday experience. If a commuter downloads a fixture list from a non-integrated smart poster in a train station but did not purchase the item, a club can offer them a reduction on a matchday ticket for the next home game or a fixture that is known to have low attendance. If it is known that a customer has an NFC-enabled phone then it is possible to promote the day’s kick-off to them. Deliver that promotion via SMS along with a ‘bring a friend’ offer, and it can be transferred to a friend or family member via NFC. Throw in an offer on a club-branded NFC phone from the club shop or website and this may generate even more revenue. If a season ticket holder missed a game or a number of games the club could then use this information in future communications to the customer – alerting them to a different ticketing package that better meets their needs, thereby securing the support of a customer that was potentially thinking of leaving, and improving customer relations.

Community initiatives

Linking with activities beyond stadia turnstiles has long been the ambition of many clubs. Activities such as the promotion of healthy eating in schools, already a key goal for some clubs, and harmonising with local transport are especially interesting for clubs planning new out-of-town stadia. Not only do such initiatives demonstrate the club’s social conscience, they also promote healthy living and green programmes. The most impressive thing about adopting the use of a smartcard operated by a third party is that other organisations are promoting the club and its activities.

As part of the UK government’s national project ‘Building Schools for the Future’ many schools already have or are implementing smartcard schemes for access, registration, and cashless catering. Once even a simple smartcard scheme exists within a school, it is simple to include a reward scheme for attendance, merit, healthy eating and so on that can be recorded at the school and rewarded by the club, for example with a stadia tour, or the chance to meet a player or manager for the day.