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Benefits of NPL clubs going cashless – here’s why

Cash is briskly becoming the least likely payment option in the modern world. As is the case in football stadiums.

The United Kingdom is populated with both professional and semi-pro football clubs and in a case study of the nationwide usage of cash in 2018, there were 39.3 billion Euro handed over in transactions, with 28 per cent of those using hard copy currency.

We’ve already seen one of the leading clubs in England take a futuristic initiative. Tottenham Hotspur made their new 62,000 capacity home ground the first completely cashless stadium in the United Kingdom.

In a world that is continuing to evolve with technology and its availability, NPL and A-League clubs could well consider introducing the cashless alternative into their game day experience for fans.

In this day in age, people are less inclined to carry cash in their pockets, particularly those in the younger demographic.

Australian football should start considering introducing cashless purchases and ATM machines at all venues, whether it be at NPL or A-League level.

There are lessons to be learned from the UK. Here are the top four benefits of going cashless.

Save on labour costs

Accepting cash payments at your stadium business means committing valuable staff time to several tasks that will simply disappear if you choose to go cashless. Setting up cash floats at the beginning of the day, periodically refilling the registers with change, counting and reconciling cash for each register at the end of the day and making bank deposits all become redundant.

With cashless payments, everything is digitised through your POS system, meaning clubs are ready to go as soon as the till is switched on and all counting time is eliminated. By doing this, some UK venues are reporting labour cost savings of up to 2 hours per day per staff member.

Additional benefits include vastly reducing the risk of exposing your business to human error and, because card and mobile transactions are automatically reconciled with your bank, there is also no need to pay for a security team to support your business with bank transfers.

Increase the volume of sales

On average, it takes 15 seconds to complete a cash transaction. By contrast, chip and pin takes between 5-8 seconds and contactless transactions can be completed in just 2 seconds.

A few seconds may sound insignificant but let’s consider the difference this could make within a typical 15-minute (900 second) half-time period.

900 seconds = 60 cash transactions = at £30 per transaction = £1,800

900 seconds = 450 contactless transactions = at £30 per transaction = £13,500

While this comparison isn’t entirely accurate (there would of course be additional time to factor in while people are selecting and placing their orders), the point is well made. As well as increasing revenue, the increase in speed also improves the experience for fans who really don’t want to miss any of the action whilst queuing for food or merchandise.

Increase average spend

There have been several studies which compare card to cash payments and the simple fact is, that when using a card, people will spend more – and significantly so.

In fact, it has been reported that the average customer spend per visit to a stadium event can increase by as much as 25% when using a card payment instead of cash.

Reduce fraud and theft

Another significant reason to go cashless is the improvements such a strategy can bring around fraud and theft, both of which are serious issues for the stadium sector.

Not only is the sight of tills and cash boxes highly attractive to thieves who may be targeting your venue, but also the often-transient nature of a stadium’s workforce can make it vulnerable to fraud or theft from within.

Moving to a cashless point of sale system vastly reduces such opportunities as digital transactions are easier to track and any discrepancies will also be much easier to spot.

There are many reasons for Australian football stadiums to explore the cashless option. The sooner they do, the sooner they will catch up to the European trends that are setting the standard for stadium experience.

Liam Watson is the Managing Editor at Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy, industry matters and technology.

Sky Sports extends rights to NIFL

The Northern Ireland Football League has announced that Sky Sports will be the exclusive broadcaster of Football in the region once again.

The Northern Ireland Football League has announced that Sky Sports will once again be the exclusive broadcaster of top-flight football in the region for the next three years.

The Irish League has had a long-lasting partnership with Sky over the years and the agreement will see the relationship in place until the end of the 2024/25 season.

The new agreement will see four Danske Bank Premiership fixtures and the BetMcLean League Cup final broadcast live across the UK & Ireland each season.

Northern Ireland Football Chief Executive, Gerard Lawlor:

“We sincerely thank Sky Sports for their continued backing of our game and we look forward to showcasing some of the best NI Football League matches together over the next three seasons,” he said.

“To continue to have the invaluable support of such a high-profile broadcaster shows how far our league has progressed in recent years as we bring our game to an increasing audience of loyal fans.

“The NI Football League brand is continuing to grow outside of the confines of Northern Ireland, and through Sky Sports, many football fans are now becoming more familiar with the rich history of our clubs and as well as some of the household names that have played in the Irish League.”

Sky Sports Director of Football, Gary Hughes:

“As a long-term partner to the Northern Ireland Football League, we’re delighted to extend Sky Sports’ support of the league and ensure that its entertaining action continues to be available to our customers,” he said.

“Sky Sports customers will be able to enjoy the Northern Ireland Football league alongside our ever-expanding football offering in the UK & Ireland which includes over 500 live games in 2022, from the Premier League, EFL, Scottish Premiership and FA Women’s Super League as well as international action in the form of World Cup Qualifiers, and this month’s Africa Cup of Nations – placing Sky Sports as the home of live football.”

Valencia CF presents revised stadium upgrade plans

Valencia CF President Anil Murthy has stated the club will not deliver a “low-cost stadium” after holding talks with Mayor Joan Ribó over reviving the long-running Nuevo Mestella project.

Valencia CF President Anil Murthy has stated the club will not deliver a “low-cost stadium” after holding talks with Mayor Joan Ribó over reviving the long-running Nuevo Mestella project.

Valencia’s stadium, the Nuevo Mestalla, was originally under construction in 2009. However, over the last 12 years, due to financial issues and negotiation breakdowns, construction has never been completed and the situation has become known as one of the world’s most notorious stadium projects.

Murthy presented revised plans to a Council delegation led by Ribó, with the club seeking to recommence work on the stadium in order to ensure it retains the advantages granted to it under an ATE construction license given in 2012.

The plans presented to the council include a stadium capacity between 43,000 to 46,000, expandable to 60,000. The stadium would have a second ring dedicated almost exclusively to leisure and restaurant offerings, while the roof will be fitted with solar panels in an effort to drive sustainability.

Valencia Mayor, Joan Ribo:

“Initially it is proposed for a capacity comparable to that which the (Mestalla) stadium currently has (48,500), but expandable to 62,000 spectators. But I think this is not the fundamental element,” he said.

“The fundamental element is the novelty of this second ring that has seemed to me to be a remarkable element that is not in many football stadia. They propose a roof that is made of photovoltaic panels, which is an example at that level that I want to value.

“They have assured us that they have guarantees with the bank where they have the debt, which is now Caixabank.

“They have presented us with a calendar where in June 2022 the works of the sports centre would begin, in October 2022 the start of the works of the stadium and in August 2024 the inauguration of the new Mestalla. The calendar seems realistic and possible, but if it is not met, they will listen to us.”

In December, Valencia revealed plans to use funds from LaLiga’s strategic venture, with global investment fund CVC Capital Partners to help finance the construction of its new stadium. Valencia is reportedly set to receive approximately $189 million AUD from LaLiga as part of the LaLiga Impulso venture. $125 million of which is set to head to the stadium project.

Valencia CF President, Anil Murthy:

“The meeting has been very positive. After the two meetings with the Generalitat, today we have taken an important step by formally presenting the project we have to the important institution, which is the City Council,” he said.

“We have agreed on recommencing work as soon as possible, after presenting the project to the Generalitat and the City Council.

“Nobody talks about a low-cost stadium. It’s going to be a stadium that’s going to give a lot of people a lot of hope and it’s going to mean a lot of investment in the city. It’s going to be something different and something attractive.”

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