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How a national second division could use mobile-only ticketing

While mobile ticketing has been around for over a decade, its presence is only increasing with some sporting events starting to move to mobile-only ticketing.

In 2019, U.S. Soccer extended a deal with its official ticketing provider Ticketmaster. The deal included plans to use Ticketmaster Presence a platform which replaces paper tickets with digital passes.

Most MLS clubs have been moving to mobile ticketing over the last few years with the Seattle Sounders in 2016 becoming the first MLS team to go fully mobile.

The MLS offers mobile ticketing via the league’s official app and MLS club apps.

There are now many ticketing platforms which offer mobile ticketing.

Australian soccer could use a platform such as TicketCo.

TicketCo was launched in 2013 with an aim to create a user-friendly ticketing solution.

“By providing a frictionless payment journey for the public and a single point of administration for the event organiser, TicketCo is creating the best value for both users and organisers. Through TicketCo organisers can sell both tickets, food and beverages, merchandise and accommodation,” TicketCo said on their website.

Here are the major reasons why Australian soccer should consider a move to mobile only ticketing.

COVID safe

The contactless aspect to mobile ticketing makes the technology extremely important as the FFA will be looking into how to get as many fans into stadiums safely during the pandemic.

TicketCo UK Country Manager David Kenny told fc business of the tracking and tracing ability of the TicketCo platform.

“Our traceability feature can enable football clubs to accurately record the details of everyone who enters the stadium. It works by scanning the ID of the supporter, or colleague when they enter the stadium, via a smartphone or tablet,” Kenny said.

“The information would then be stored accordance with GDPR regulation for the period required by the government for tracing. Once the time frame expires the data would automatically be deleted via an automated process.”

Self-scanning technology for mobile tickets is already in place at the major stadiums in Australia. While it may be expensive for NPL clubs to put this technology in place, it can be integrated quickly.

TicketCo can be integrated into a stadium within two weeks.

David Kenny also believes that the technology is “accessible and affordable to all clubs”.

Convenience and flexibility

Some US colleges have also decided to use mobile only ticketing for their sporting events based on the convenience and flexibility mobile ticketing offers. For the 2020/21 seasons the University of Arkansas and Florida Atlantic University have opted to move to digital ticketing systems.

Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics at the University of Arkansas, Hunter Yurachek said that mobile ticketing options had been successful in previous seasons.

“Whether it is transferring tickets to family or friends, getting the latest update on gameday changes or self-scanning themselves into the event, our fans now can manage their tickets, at their convenience, by utilizing their smart phones,” he said

“No longer do fans need to worry about forgetting tickets at home or in the car. With mobile ticketing, our fans literally have all of the gameday options they need right in the palm of their hand.”

Florida Atlantic University shared a similar sentiment when announcing their move to mobile only ticketing.

“(A) new and convenient way for fans to access tickets to FAU home games directly on their smartphone. Ease and flexibility to transfer tickets to friends and family,” they said.

Live-streaming

The TicketCo platform can also be used to live-stream matches with both pay-per-view and video on demand options for TicketCo TV.

David Kenny said that the live streams can be viewed on Apple TV and Android TV.

“If stadiums remain closed live streaming will become a key issue. And once physical crowds are welcomed back clubs can simply host ‘hybrid events’ by selling tickets to the stadium alongside virtual tickets,” he said.

“Introducing a robust live streaming solution now will be a sound long term investment for football clubs.”

Either by using the TicketCo platform or adapting similar technology into its own My Football Live app the FFA could create a single area where fans would be able to access both live-streams and tickets.

This would make it very straightforward for fans to have their tickets or view live-streams for Socceroos, Matildas, A-League, W-League, NPL and the new National second division matches.

Data

The data from mobile ticketing, can tell organisers who bought tickets, who tickets were transferred to and who actually attended the event. This would be useful to help market the game.

The demographics of attendees could be analysed to give the FFA an specific idea of who their audience is.

With several benefits to mobile only ticketing, digital only tickets could soon become a reality for Australian soccer.

Daniel Foley
Daniel Foley is a sports junior journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy and micro industry matters.

Never assume ethnicity is the problem, without addressing the behaviour

The association between a violent brawl at a NPL game and Football Australia rescinding the ban on ethnic club names couldn't be further from the fact, and only helps pernicious issues within Australian sporting culture remain unchallenged.

The association between a violent brawl at a National Premier League (NPL) game and Football Australia (FA) rescinding the ban on ethnic club names couldn’t be further from the fact, and only helps pernicious issues within Australian sporting culture remain unchallenged.

The fight between spectators at a NPL game between Rockdale Ilinden and Sydney United 58 on Sunday was an alarming scene of violence. The fight began after a spectator entered the pitch and interfered with a player, which sparked a full-blown melee where objects were thrown by spectators as police were called to quell the conflict.

In the aftermath, media outlets were quick to jump to the narrative that this fight was caused by the FA’s Inclusivity Principles for Club Identity (IPCI). Previously, clubs had been banned from using names that alluded to ethnic boundaries or events at the advent of the A-league and the death of the NSL, under a National Club Identity Policy which was replaced by the IPCI. While the clubs eschewed their ethnic names and insignia during the period this policy was in place, their heritage and supporter base remained untouched.

FA CEO James Johnson was forced to defend the policy on 2GB radio, while host Ray Hadley grilled him on the incident. To argue that the IPCI caused the violence in the stands on Sunday is to ignore a history of violence in Australian sport. Hadley insinuates that this is an issue for football particularly: “It’s almost unheard of in modern-day sport in Australia. Sometimes things get out of hand at Rugby league, Rugby Union, more particularly your sport”. In his favourite sport – one that hasn’t been “captivated by PC BS” as he eloquently states – spectators are regularly charged with assault after violent clashes.

As recently as this year, Parramatta fans fought in a wild brawl with their fellow supporters at a game. The issue is present within AFL, where spectators are regularly charged with assault. In 2018 two men were hospitalised after being attacked after an AFL game in Melbourne by men wearing their club colours proudly. In 2010 at the WACA, during a one-day test between Australia and Pakistan, a spectator stormed the field and tackled a Pakistani player and was charged with assault and trespass. The problem is a cultural one, that is endemic across all of Australian sport. To blame a spectator brawl on something as irrelevant as the name and identity of the clubs involved, while turning a blind eye to a history of violence that is perpetuated throughout Australian sport is to condemn ourselves to never fixing the cause, and never finding the solution.

Even within the world of football, violence between fans is not a new phenomenon despite what critics of the IPCI would like you to think. It happened before the ban on ethnic club names, it happened during the ban, and it will continue to happen after the introduction of the IPCI. Why is this so? Because a small minority of Australian spectators, regardless of their sport, are prone to violence. Violence between spectators is a worldwide phenomenon and amazingly remains so in countries whose populations are homogeneous and don’t divide themselves into clubs based on their heritage or ethnicity.

NSW Police Detective Superintendent Anthony Cooke stated that it was only a small minority of the spectators involved in the melee on Sunday, and there was no clear link to ethnic violence. With the former National Club Identity Policy in place, football was less inclusive of those of other cultures and ethnicity with little benefit to the game, while suppressing communities that embraced the world game.

This isn’t an effort to downplay the violence in the stands on Sunday however, but to blame the IPCI however is to ignore the fact that it is a minority of people who engage in anti-social behaviour. It remains easier to direct fault towards the policy of the FA instead of addresses the cultural issues that remain within football and Australian sport as a whole.

“We need to focus on the behaviours, not the ethnicity,” Football Australia CEO James Johnson stated in his interview with Ray Hadley. To remove spectator violence from all levels of the football pyramid we need to do exactly this. To villainize supporters based on the heritage of the club they support is to ignore the very real dangers of anti-social behaviour that is fuelled by far greater animosity than the name on their badge. Hadley misses this point completely and seems to believe that if the club had an anglicised name then the spectator violence wouldn’t have happened. The evidence shows this is objectively wrong and drawing upon ethnicity is simply a media narrative that damages the clubs and the footballing industry. The NSL, the precursor to the A-league, was severely damaged and ultimately destroyed by this stigma being attached by the media.

Hadley’s and 2GB’s attempted stitch-up of Johnson shouldn’t be a surprise. Football within Australia has a long history of being some sort of ethnic boogeyman, with the foreigner with the strange name being an easy target for disdain. While the FA has made it clear it won’t tolerate this behaviour from spectators, fans, and club officials, it has also taken the correct stance in deciding to punish those who do wrong based solely on their behaviour. While the violent brawl was unacceptable, and those involved need to be heavily punished with bans as Football Australia intends to do, it isn’t unheard of in the slightest. These issues aren’t self-contained to football or ethnically named clubs and are instead just a symptom of a much larger illness in Australian sporting culture. To ignore the violence that continues to permeate with Australian sport in an attempt to blame a policy that
contributes little to the issue will only allow the real causes to remain unchecked.

Signify technology lights up sporting clubs safely 

Signify is the world leader in lighting innovation for professionals, customers and lighting for the Internet of Things. 

Signify is the world leader in lighting innovation, providing their service for professionals, customers and lighting for the Internet of Things. 

Holding a strong presence worldwide, Signify can be found in over 70 countries, featuring approximately 38,000 employees.  

Their energy efficient lighting products, systems and services gives customers a more superior quality of light, which makes theirs and other people’s lives safer and more comfortable, leading onto businesses becoming more productive and cities more liveable. 

As parts of the world still continue to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, Signify can help reduce the risk of viruses and bacteria spreading, especially in large indoor gatherings. It’s their Ultraviolet-C disinfection lighting that has been implemented for the first time at a UK professional sporting club. 

This technology can be found at The Stoop, home to English Gallagher Premiership Rugby Union Club Harlequins. The possibilities as endless for Signify, who can expand to the top four tiers of English football as more clubs can come on board. 

As a case study for how UV-C can be implemented at any team, Signify’s UV-C partner Powercor installed 11 UV-C disinfection upper air units in the Honours Bar of The Stoop. 

In an area that is normally reserved for Season Ticket Members, that section is currently utilised by the home team as their player’s dressing room. As the players are currently the ones to benefit from safety features due to restrictions in the UK, it is thought that once the fans do return to sporting venues, they will be within a more hygienic and safer atmosphere which will become the way forward. 

“Signify is a highly trusted partner and a leader in their field,” Harlequins Chief Executive Officer Laurie Dalrymple said. 

“We are proud to be the first professional sports team in the UK to use UV-C disinfection lighting technology, and we expect to see it widely utilised in future across the sports and events industry.”

Signify have added another layer of analysis for medical purposes as doctors look at ways to manage their players.

Signify’s UV-C disinfection lighting adds an additional layer of protection to the stringent testing and operational processes we have in place to protect the squad,” Harlequins’ Head of Medical Mike Lancaster said. 

“From a medical perspective, I am very satisfied with the way the technology has been tested in depth and fully proven.” 

UV-C is the proven disinfection method that prevents the spread of diseases by disinfecting air, water and surfaces. It breaks down the DNA or RNA of microorganisms to make viruses and bacteria become harmless. Laboratory testing showed that the virus could be clamped down in as little as nine seconds.  

Signify’s partner Powercor have already installed 11 units for Harlequins that are suspended by brackets 800mm from the ceiling. The high position, combined with the luminaires’ design, allows the system to disinfect air as it circulates in the room, even when there are people present. 

Applicable to all sports and venues, this is just the start of the reach that Signify can have with sporting organisations. 

“As a long-term partner of Signify, we are very pleased to extend our professional expertise to UV-C disinfection lighting, which will become increasingly important to our customers in the years ahead,” Powercor Managing Director Richard Grace said. 

“We are proud to play our part in getting the Quins safely to the pitch and creating hygienic spaces for supporters to enjoy the legendary atmosphere of The Stoop once it is considered safe to re-open.” 

Natural convection moves the disinfected air back into the lower part of the room. Shielding and optics in the luminaire’s design will additionally prevent accidental exposure to UV-C radiation.

“Harlequins have a long history at the pinnacle of English rugby. Top athletes work hard to keep their health at an absolute peak, which extends to managing the risks we all now face in crowded public places,” Andy Gowen said, Director Public and Sports Lighting at Signify in the UK & Ireland. 

“We’re very proud to support the Club’s objective to offer players and supporters the very best protection.”

Signify has led the way for UV technology, where they’ve added plenty of innovation and expertise related to UV-C lighting. The way that this lighting is designed, installed and use is treated with care so that safety requirements are made and improves hygiene in a climate where it has never been more important. 

To find out more on Signify and what they can offer sport clubs, you can find it here. 

Tappit offers the cashless solution 

Tappit is a global provider of cashless solutions that can help events, attractions, stadiums and venues to increase profit, gain insights and improve fan experiences. 

Tappit is a global provider of cashless solutions that can help events, attractions, stadiums and venues to increase profit, gain insights and improve fan experiences. 

Founded in 2018, Tappit has quickly become the cashless experts, having already complied an impressive client list including Kansas City Chiefs, San Diego Padres, Formula One and Jacksonville Jaguars. 

Tappit strives to enhance live event experiences for fans, providing technology and data to the organisers to get the best out of what they intend to do. All this links towards improving customer experiences, giving a greater return on profitability.

As more and more people make the switch towards cashless, they will find it easy, fast and convenient to use. It boosts profits for organisations and gives a safer environment for fans. 

The solutions provided by Tappit are suitable for sports clubs or any other similar organisers. 

Tappit Mobile Pay: Puts the app at the centre of all customer activities to set a new standard in fan experience. Through a seamless, single mobile ecosystem, there can be contactless payments, access control, loyalty and ticketing all in the one place, with benefits to match. 

  • Safe – Keeping guests and staff as safe as possible in relation to COVID-19 protocols. By eliminating the need for physical cash, this minimises human contact. Not only this, but secure QR technology will significantly reduce the risk of fraud and theft. 
  • Frictionless – Creating a seamless spending experience for events will maximise fan engagement. This means communication is integrated directly inside the app so customers have everything they require in one destination. Understanding fan’s end-to-end spending habits is highly rewarding. 
  • Simple – The easy-to-use Mobile Pay software is a straightforward upgrade to an existing POS system. There is minimal hardware investment or staff training involved, while the QR code technology creates a familiar customer experience for all fan demographics. 
  • Fully agnostic – Tappit do not compete with banking partners, so Mobile Pay can be integrated with loyalty schemes, reward initiatives and existing venue & financial partners. Tappit provides complementary solutions to enhance the work of an organisation’s partners.
  • Increase value for sponsors – A complete customer view ensures that sponsors can understand who their VIPs are and the best ways to target them. Selecting Tappit’s white label solution enables the creation of a new sponsorship category and provides the organisation with new assets to monetise. 
  • Completely understanding fans – Overseeing the customers’ spending journey and retaining the relevant data will introduce access to the most valuable business insights. This gives a better glimpse into how to attract and engage attendees and increase the event’s profitability simultaneously. 

Cashless RFID system: Improving fan experience, boost takings and gather 360 customer insights without the need of WiFi at the venue. Tappit’s cashless RFID technology delves deeper than just contactless payments. 

  • Boost profitability – The positives of eliminating cash are almost endless in their possibilities, with the trend growing towards making more transactions via credit card. Tappit has elaborated that going cashless will increase gate takings by 22% on average, while transactions are made 80% faster. 
  • Enhanced fan experience – The RFID system reduces queues, increase sales and gives fans more time to enjoy the event they paid for. Understanding every fan unlocks marketing opportunities through personalised offers based on previous behaviours and incentivises them by having rewards and digital vouchers. 
  • A completed view of every fan – Fans are served better when the organisation gets to know them better. The RFID system has the data to assess a fans’ spending – where and when. 
  • Keeping fans and staff safe – RFID’s one-tap payments keep attendees and the workforce safe, similar to how Mobile Pay operates. Importantly, the risk of fraud and theft is minimised and with Tappit’s innovative functionality there are plenty more features such as Yellow Card through to Safety Wristbands.
  • Tech-light integration – Tappit’s technology complements existing infrastructure. They work closely to get the ideal design happening quickly and efficiently. The system does not require an overhaul to existing infrastructure or need a complicated set up requiring a multitude of integrations.  

Tappit extends further to what just happens at an event, they also deliver Tappit Insights as part of their solution package. For each fan, the organisation gets a complete 360-degree view.  

Tappit is able to integrate data across an ecosystem, including ticket data through purchases, parking and loyalty schemes. They can then turn this into valuable insights with instant access to a holistic view about a visitor’s spending and behaviour trends to guide organisations in the right direction for profitable planning and decision making.  

Tappit changes the game from a typical POS report to a unique platform that connects purchases directly to a fan – unprecedented data and insights are achieved. 

To learn more about Tappit, including case studies and resources, you can find it here.  

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