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Norwegian company TicketCo continues to build its profile in UK market

While some traditions stay, football does continue to change in the modern world.

One area of the game which has undertaken a rapid technological transformation is the method in which supporters make purchases.

The technology available gives clubs new decisions to make, which would have been unheard of several years. For example, the choice to operate cashless stadiums.

Norwegian company TicketCo is embracing the idea of going cashless. The company works with clubs to increase revenue at stadiums by maximising sales and reducing overall costs.

This is all done via its payment platform which gives supporters easy access to purchase tickets, merchandise as well as food and beverages. Transactions can be made anywhere whether its online, inside the stadium or at the turnstiles. The scanning app technology cuts queues, which is increasingly important in this day and age.

TicketCo entered the UK market in 2017 and has partnered with clubs including Wycombe Wanderers, Kilmarnock, Macclesfield Town and Solihull Moors.

Benefits of going cashless include the reduction of time for sales, a lower security risk and a lower cost. Better data is also captured by the technology, which clubs can use.

The platform is available on both iOS and Android devices and gives organisers the chance to advertise offers before events occur.

Wycombe Wanderers have reported a 57% increase in supporters purchasing tickets online since they partnered with TicketCo.

Mark Palmer of Wycombe Wanderers told FC Business: “The TicketCo platform is fantastic and makes purchases so simple. It makes buying tickets so simple online, via mobile phones, the website and Facebook. It enables us to provide a better service to supporters and is helping the club grow.

“We’ve had a lot of success with the new TicketCo platform when it comes to fans buying tickets quickly and simply online or via the app. The cashless solution at the bars was the next step in our strategy and not only does it improve the experience for supporters, it also helps us process more transactions, so it is a win, win.”

It is a similar situation at Macclesfield Town where fans have gone from buying tickets in cash to online. National League side Solihull Moors partnered with TicketCo to help the club prepare for future growth.

“TicketCo has ticked all the boxes for us; a quick and trouble-free implementation that was easy to use and demonstrated immediate commercial benefit on increased sales, cash handling and cash flow,” said Chief Executive Calvin Barnett.

“Throughout last season it proved itself time and time again especially in our huge FA Cup and end of season games. It is fair to say without the platform we would have struggled to cope.

“Having now introduced merchandising to the platform we enter this season looking to make significantly more use of the features and functionality it provides to drive not just commercial revenues but a better all-round buying experience for all involved.”

UK Country Manager at TicketCo, David Kenny, said various clubs are buying into the advantages of the cashless technology.

He claimed: “More and more clubs are directly benefitting from the upsides of our cashless technology both in terms of improving revenue and the fan experience and we’re looking forward to further UK growth.”

That growth seems to be on its way as TicketCo continues to invest in its technology to support transitions to cashless stadiums.

“Next season we are due to introduce a card- reader that is so robust it even runs off-line if the network is down,” added David. “The technology will also provide a payment solution that eliminates the need to top-up apps and prevents the risk of customer data loss.”

Philip Panas is a sports journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy and industry matters, drawing on his knowledge and passion of the game.

AFC reveals logo for the 2023 Asian Cup tournament

Asian Cup

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC), together with the Local Organising Committee (LOC), have confirmed the logo for the AFC Asian Cup China 2023.

The logo was revealed via a dazzling and immersive display that showcased the vibrant new design through projection mapping and Augmented Reality, as well as being projected on select iconic buildings across Shanghai’s skyline.

The launch, which was staged at the competition’s first completed stadium – Shanghai Pudong Football Stadium – also revealed the Host City logos in the first on-ground milestone event of the tournament, which will be held from June 16 to July 16, 2023.

The 18th edition of the tournament will see the Socceroos hoping to improve on their quarter-final loss to the United Arab Emirates in 2019.

In a special video message presented during the event, the AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa made the following statement:

“Over the years, each host nation has left a significant mark on Asian football, and we know that China PR will stage our greatest ever tournament in 2023.

“The AFC is pleased to mark our latest milestones and, on behalf of the Asian football family, I would like to congratulate the Local Organising Committee and the Venue Organising Committees of the 10 host cities for their commitment and efforts.

“The LOC continues to make great progress with the preparations to stage a memorable event, and I wish the Chinese Football Association, the LOC, the VOCs and all our stakeholders the very best of success in staging a truly world-class event.”

The 10 dynamic beams in the logo, which emanate from the bottom to form the image of the sun rising from the East, symbolise all the host cities of the AFC Asian Cup China 2023™ – underlining the ever-growing scale and future legacy of the tournament, which will be held in 10 different cities in one nation for the first time in Asian football history.

The process of localising the design and concept, in line with the master brands, was further influenced by the LOC’s proposal to embody ‘Light’ as a symbol and beacon of hope to overcome adversity, particularly pertinent during these challenging times and aptly emphasising the unifying force of Asia’s flagship men’s tournament in rallying together passionate fans and teams from the world’s most diverse continent.

Ivan Franjic: “I’m thankful and grateful that I was able to live my dream”

Socceroos Ivan Franjic

Ivan Franjic’s arrival at historic National Premier Leagues Victoria side Heidelberg United has come via an unconventional journey to say the least.

From his early beginnings in the then-named Victorian Premier League with the likes of St Albans Saints and Melbourne Knights, to playing for Russian side FC Torpedo Moscow, to playing in the third-largest urban agglomeration in Korea with Daegu FC, Franjic’s career has certainly been one to savour.

Whilst his career has seen injury setbacks, a blocked loan and unpaid wages with Torpedo Moscow – and the discovery of a potentially career-threatening rare inflammatory condition known as myocarditis in 2016 – Franjic is grateful to be where he is today and to have had the footballing experiences he’s had.

“I’ve been very fortunate with the success I’ve had over my travels, and I’ve experienced some different countries,” he said.

“It’s been a great journey and I’m thankful and grateful that I was able to live my dream and play for the Socceroos at a World Cup. Some Championships as well, so, can’t complain at all.”

Torpedo Moscow

And as for why Franjic opted to return to the NPL Victoria to take up an opportunity with Heidelberg United, a family connection and the quality of the league spoke for itself.

“My brother has played in the NPL for a fair bit and I’ve watched a few of his games. If you look at the FFA Cup you’ve always got a Victorian team in the semi-finals, so it must be saying something about how good the standard of the league is,” he said.

“I know the coach George Katsakis and he called me and my brother and said he was interested in signing us. And obviously Heidelberg have had success over the last few years where they’ve won a lot of trophies, so, they’re wanting to build a great team to have another successful year once again.

“Whenever you go to Heidelberg you see that they have a decent following and that everyone gets behind them, so it’ll be good. I’m looking forward to playing in the NPL this year and to finally be playing with my brother after all these years.”

Heidelberg United

Next year’s Victorian NPL season will mark 13 years since Franjic departed his then-Victorian Premier League side Oakleigh Cannons to take up an injury-replacement contract offer with Ange Postecoglou’s Brisbane Roar.

It was under the now-Celtic FC coach where Franjic impressed the Roar faithful and built a platform to launch himself into a regular starting berth with the Socceroos at right-back.

As a three-time A-League Men’s Championship winner with Brisbane, three-time Premiership winner with the Roar (twice) and Perth Glory (once), as well as an Asian Cup winner, Franjic has certainly been a key cog in some of Australian football’s most historic sides.

“Obviously, winning the Asian Cup is a massive achievement, it’s similar to someone winning the Euros or the Copa America. But I think in Australia, with soccer not being the number one sport, it’s always hard to get the media buzz of AFL and NRL because they’ve got a huge following,” he said.

“But when you look back on it you don’t realise how high of an achievement it actually was against Asia’s best.

“I’d had Ange as a coach for a few years and he’s no doubt one of the best managers I’d ever worked under. The whole buzz of being in Brazil, with security all around the hotel and obviously Brazil is a football-mad nation, so, everywhere you went people were following you.

“It was exciting, and I thought Australia gave a good account of themselves without getting results in that tournament.”

Each of these remarkable honours were earnt between globetrotting stints with Torpedo Moscow, Melbourne City and Daegu. But before returning to the National Premier Leagues Victoria, Franjic made one final stopover with newly-joined A-League Men’s expansion side Macarthur FC. He gave credit to the side that he helped in their foundation.

“It was no doubt a challenge starting up a new club from fresh and giving it a go. Credit has to go out to all of the staff and the owners; they did an amazing job for a club in their first year in terms of facilities and the stadium. Compared to other clubs that have come into the A-League they were very good,” he said.

Macarthur FC

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