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Realife Tech: Prioritising fan safety for venues

As we navigate our way out of lockdown, one of the challenges for stadiums is fan safety, for the successful reopening of fans to venues.

As we slowly navigate our way out of lockdown, one of the challenges for stadiums is fan safety, ensuring that it’s implemented for sports reopening past COVID-19. 

It’s a key consideration for venues and would see some differences compared to before the pandemic hit. Brent Kocher, Chief Revenue Officer at Realife Tech, believes that increased fan engagement will be pivotal as spectators and venues work together to see new safety solutions used to its full potential. 

Collectively, the majority of sports fans would love for the games to continue despite restrictions on fan attendance – a June 2020 study by ESPN showed that 78 per cent of fans were in favour of play being resumed. It was a double-digit increase on a previous poll back in April. 

Australian sporting codes Australian Football League (AFL) and National Rugby League (NRL) have already welcomed sports fans back for their respective Grand Finals albeit in a limited capacity, so other venues both here and overseas will be sure to follow suit as spectators are eased back soon. 

For it to be successful, discussions need to be had about some COVID safety measures to be included and the joint effort by stadiums and visitors to hold key events for enjoyment with health the main focus. 

While we still don’t know the full answers about if and when we get back to full capacity, the slow return of fans in partial attendance will serve as testing opportunities for policies and procedures in the future. Technology solutions can be used during this process as fans make the transition back to sporting grounds. Fan engagement allows not only them to be informed, but engaged in an active role to keep themselves safe, as well as players, staff and teams.

Technology solutions have been created so it becomes a more seamless and stress-free experience for fans who are the focus of increased engagement, factoring in their safety to lessen the potential health risks both inside and outside the venue. 

Going to a game used to be a carefree experience, but nowadays it is a completely different story. Before, all the spectators had to worry about was finding their ticketed seats and snacks or drinks they would like to buy. Now, it has become a case of spectators considering what time slot they’re scheduled to enter through the gate, where their seats are uniquely allocated and how far they would be, nominating a time to go and grab something to eat or drink, and a chosen time they wish to exit. 

 

Realife Tech aims to create the best possible experience for fans adhering to COVID guidelines. 

“At Realife Tech, we’ve developed a “Covid Safety Hub”, a range of mobile-based features that guide fans through new venue policies and procedures, with messaging delivered before, during, and after events.” Chief Revenue Officer Brent Kocher said. 

“The tech features location-based safety alerts that share real-time information with fans, helping to control high traffic areas, reduce lines at entries and exits, and loosen crowd congestion.  

“Fans who engage with this platform can adjust their actions depending on social distancing needs around them; for example, if the area they’d like to visit within the stadium is reaching capacity, or if the bathroom near them has a long line that would make distancing from others difficult, they can choose to avoid those areas and take another route to their desired destination.”  

Venues will need to adapt to contactless changes for matchday between staff and fans entering the venue. It means usual interactions will be limited, including touch-free ticketing scanning and contactless ordering and click-and-collect type process of getting food, beverage and merchandise items.  

Stadiums and venues can look into the single view of the customer across their journey, making this a significant learning opportunity for data collection – from multiple platforms and systems, including apps, ticketing, Wi-Fi, point-of-sale, digital advertising screens and access control points. 

Delving into the customer journey can assist venues with their future offerings and communications to provide a more extensive experience that will become seamless moving forward. It addresses both the current challenges and customer needs.  

With fan engagement at the forefront, it means there will be consistent communication between spectators about the right processes, through dedicated technology solutions. They can then feel more empowered to make decisions and be a key difference as part of their daily lives. It means that while we’re still a while off fully-packed crowds, it doesn’t mean we have to settle with empty stadiums. 

To see what Realife Tech has to offer, you can find out more here.

Liam Watson is a Senior Journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on international football policy, industry matters and industry 4.0

Ronaldo’s Manchester United return breaks social media records

With the summer transfer window complete for clubs across Europe, Cristiano Ronaldo re-joins Manchester United following 12 years away in a true homecoming moment for the Premier League side.

A household name, Ronaldo’s exceptional career has seen him return to a club that played a major part in his development towards becoming one of the greatest players we’ve seen.

Arriving from Sporting Lisbon in 2003, Ronaldo was a club-record signing for Manchester United at the time for a teenager in English football, and he certainly disappoint, netting 84 goals from 196 appearances.

His time in the game is most famously for La Liga’s Real Madrid, where in the 2009-2018 period he dominated with 311 goals from 292 games, and most recently spent the previous few seasons with Serie A’s Juventus showing no signs of slowing down in his veteran years by scoring 81 times from 98 appearances. Ronaldo’s lengthy international career dates back to his Manchester United debut year of 2003, with 179 caps and 109 goals to his name.

When you add his long list of trophies and accomplishments notably as a five-time Ballon d’Or winner, five-time Champions League winner, four-time FIFA Club World Cup winner, three-time Premier League champion, two-time Best FIFA Men’s Player and 2018 European Championship WInner it’s easy to see why he’s held in such high esteem and widely regarded as one of the greats of the sport.

It should come as no surprise to see the level of engagement on social media when the transfer was confirmed by Manchester United. There was a staggering number of people liking and sharing the huge summer transfer window move, as discovered by Global Head of Social Media at Manchester United, Nick Speakman.

He confirmed that Manchester United’s ‘Welcome home Cristiano Ronaldo’ posts for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram all reached uncharted territory, setting new records across each of the three prominent platforms. The upcoming figures have already grown from when Speakman updated, with Ronaldo having a significant impact even off the pitch.

Instagram’s 12.3m likes & 537k comments makes it the most liked Instagram post from a sports team, Twitter’s 1.9m likes & 850k retweets makes it the most liked Twitter post from a sports team, while Facebook’s 1.3m likes & 161k comments makes it the club’s most liked Facebook post.

“It’s often said that “nothing can surprise you” when working within sports. However, unexpectedly being presented with the opportunity, and arguably privilege, of announcing Cristiano Ronaldo returning to Manchester United after 12 years away from the club is a rare exception to the rule,” Speakman said.

“24 hours later, the announcement post has surpassed even our own predictions for social numbers cross-platform.”

It marked Manchester United’s biggest ever day for social interactions, which can extend further to other Ronaldo-related posts as the hype continues for a potential return in Manchester United colours at Old Trafford against Newcastle United in Round 4 of the Premier League, following the upcoming international break.

Football Queensland’s Walktober events support Walking Football

Walktober

Football Queensland have announced the launch of Walktober as an initiative to encourage social connection through sport.

Walktober will see a series of five Walking Football events take place across the month of October with inclusion and encouragement at the forefront.

The announcement of Walktober is a timely one, with repeated lockdowns across the state affecting so many throughout Queensland and Australia as a whole. Football is a social sport that can be a significant tool in reintegrating and reconnecting with others.

Walktober will include two Carnivals for existing players and three social Come & Try Carnivals for new participants to experience football in a welcoming, non-competitive environment.

Football Queensland CEO Robert Cavallucci cited Walktober as a month-long event that encourages people of all ages, cultures and abilities to get involved in the game.

“Walking Football is a modified version of the game played on reduced sized fields, suitable for all players no matter their ability or experience,” Cavallucci said.

“The low-impact nature of Walking Football allows participants to remain active and engaged with football without worrying about the speed of the game or the chances of suffering an injury.

“In keeping with the ‘Social Connections’ theme of Seniors Month in October, Walktober will use football, the state’s most popular team sport, to encourage active lifestyles and teamwork amongst Queenslanders.

“Football Queensland will host Walking Football Carnivals for both experienced players and newcomers to the sport in Brisbane, Toowoomba, the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast.

Cavallucci went on to reflect further on the buzz that has been generated by Walking Football across the state and the events that are set to follow through Walktober.

“Walktober will be followed by the Pan Pacific Masters Games on the Gold Coast in November, which will include Walking Football for the first time,” Cavallucci added.

“We have already seen great engagement in our Walking Football programs from Queenslanders of all ages, genders and cultural backgrounds, and we encourage everyone to assemble a team and sign up for a Walktober event.”

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