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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.

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

Why an Australian football Netflix series is needed

Netflix boast just under 200 million subscribers worldwide and have released several sports documentaries over the last few years. However, we are yet to see an Australian football Netflix series – an opportunity that should be taken advantage of.

There is a market for these types of documentaries as Netflix is not the only streaming service that features sport docuseries. Amazon Prime has produced also produced documentaries on Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur.

One of the most popular football docuseries has been Netflix’s Sunderland ‘Til I Die. The show which provided a behind the scenes view of the club was one of the most watched programs on Netflix in the UK during the week of the release of the second season.

Sunderland has received global recognition off the back of the popularity of the show.

Stewart Donald, owner and former chairman of Sunderland told ChronicleLive that there are lots of reasons why the documentary is good for the club.

“My initial thought with it was, there aren’t many football clubs that can have a global brand, but if you’ve got a Netflix documentary and it goes right, you can get that out to the world and maybe you might get a few people who come along and get emotionally involved in Sunderland who otherwise wouldn’t have,” he said.

“If our name goes out to 20 or 30 million people on Netflix, or however many it might be, that can only be good for the club.”

There are several possibilities for an Australian football docuseries. The show could follow a single A-League club’s season, in the same vein to the Sunderland or Manchester City programs.

Other documentaries have focused on a season of a series or championship as a whole. Netflix’s Formula 1 docuseries Drive to Survive involves several different teams and features a different storyline each episode.

One million households streamed Drive to Survive within the first 28 days of season two’s release according to research agency Digital-i.

An A-League version of this could cover the biggest storylines and moments of the season.

Documentaries have also focused on the national team of a sporing organisation such as Amazon Prime’s The Test which documents the Australian cricket team’s redemption following the ball tampering scandal in 2018.

A series that follows the qualification process of an Australian team for a FIFA World Cup would be a particularly interesting documentary series given the high stakes involved.

The exposure gained from an Australian football Netflix series could be a great opportunity to either introduce people to Australian football or reinvigorate their love for the game.

Drive to Survive has seen an increase an interest for the sport in the US, which is not a traditional market for Formula 1.

Earlier this year Renault Formula 1 Driver Daniel Ricciardo appeared on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah where he discussed the impact that Drive to Survive has had in the US.

“I definitely feel F1 is becoming much more of a thing here in the States. Drive to Survive put it on the map,” he said.

“I spend a bit of time in the States, and up until a year ago, not really anyone would say ‘Hi’ to me – not in a bad way, but they wouldn’t recognise me for being an F1 driver.

“And now it’s all: ‘We saw you on Netflix, it was great, Drive to Survive.’ We wear helmets, so not many people can see our faces a lot of the time.

Given the younger demographic of streaming service users, a docuseries could create a new generation of fans for football in Australia. Depending on the success of the series, it could even inspire more young Australians to play the world game.

At an event for 188Bet in March 2020, F1’s Managing Director of Motorsport Ross Brawn, said that the Netflix series had seen positive impacts for the sport.

“What we’ve discovered is it’s been very appealing to the non race fan: in fact it turned them into race fans,” Brawn said.

“Some of the promoters in the past season have said they’ve definitely measured the increase in interest in F1 that has come from the Netflix series.

“And while Netflix in itself wasn’t for us a hugely profitable venture, in terms of giving greater coverage for F1, it’s been fantastic.

While Football Federation Australia, the A-League and its clubs would not be able to demand the millions of dollars that other clubs and organisations are paid for their participation in a documentary, it could provide a cash boost for the organisations.

Ryan Reynolds has partnered with fellow actor Rob McElhenney to purchase Welsh soccer club Wrexham AFC, who compete in the fifth tier of English football, the National League.

Part of Reynolds and McElhenney’s takeover bid involves plans for a documentary series that follows the events of the team.

Bloomberg spoke to Ampere Analysis analyst Richard Broughton, who said that it would not be unreasonable for a streaming service to pay several hundred thousand pounds per hour for the broadcast rights to a show.

An Australian football Netflix series would be extremely beneficial for the sport in this country.

J.League to reintroduce VAR from 2021

J.League has announced that it will be reintroducing VAR for Meji Yasuda J1 League matches for the 2021 and 2022 seasons.

J.League has announced that it will be reintroducing Video Assistant Referee (VAR) for Meji Yasuda J1 League matches for the 2021 and 2022 seasons.

In September 2019, it was announced that would be implementing VAR for the 2020 season, however nine days into the season it was announced that the competition was being suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Four months later upon the restart of the league it was also decided that VAR would not be used for the rest of the season. J.League said that this was due to its “tight schedule and limited number of referees.”

VAR will be implemented for a total of 394 matches during the 2021 season – this includes 380 Meji Yasuda J1 League matches, one Super Cup match and 13 J. League YBC Levain Cup, Prime Stage matches.

The 2022 season will see VAR used for 321 matches – including 306 Meji Yasuda J1 League matches, one Super Cup match, 13 J. League YBC Levain Cup, Prime Stage matches and one J1 Promotion Playoff Final.

“The development of J.League is a crucial factor for Japanese football to reach new heights, and the J.League is currently setting their goal to reach the heights of Europe’s top five leagues by 2030,” Chairman Ogawa Yoshimi of the Japanese Football Association Referees Committee said in February 2020.

“With VAR (video assistant referee) already being implemented in many leagues in Europe, the J.League must follow the same footsteps in order to achieve their goal. Therefore, JFA will work together with J.League to proceed with the implementation of VAR to help raise the level of Japanese football.”

J.League said that is still yet to be determined if the 2022 Super Cup match (which is played between the reigning Emperor’s Cup winners and J1 League Champions) and the J1 Promotion Playoff Final will be played.

The number of matches in the 2022 Meji Yasuda J1 League season is also dependent on the league staying at its current number of 18 clubs.

Relegation has been suspended for 2020 season due to the pandemic. The top two J2 League clubs for the 2020 season will be automatically promoted into the Meji Yasuda J1 League, increasing the number of teams in the competition to 20.

Four clubs will then be relegated from J1 to J2 after the 2021 season. Two clubs will also be promoted which is set to restore the number of clubs in the J.League to 18.

CrowdedVENUE makes stadium safety simple 

CrowdedVENUE focuses on visitor safety, revenue generation and user experience to create a secure stadium event for all.

CrowdedVENUE focuses on visitor safety, revenue generation and user experience to create a secure stadium event for all. 

They have become a unique combination of IoT hardware and a purpose-built software application that collects, transmits, analyses and presents the behaviour of pedestrian/crowd movement without any need for manual processing during or after study. 

CrowdedHUB sensors merge together the very best in physical identification, including Wi-Fi scanning, Bluetooth scanning, Thermal and 3D imaging of environmental sensing to create a valuable collection of unique data that is independent of any infrastructure. 

 

CrowdedVENUE’s boasts an incredible data gathering hardware system that is regarded as the most secure in the industry, with automated anonymisation at the source and a multi-layered security application. 

Crowded uses the very best in technology to offer an accurate and cost-effective pedestrian movement analysis solution that addresses the growing demands of both the private and public sectors. 

A network of independent sensors are able to accumulate over 90% of individuals in most areas. That information is then sent directly to Crowded who will automatically generate data relevant to the venue or location. 

The CrowdedVENUE software application continually accesses each sensor on their own to safely extract anonymous data and perform detailed analysis, maps and charts to display all the results. 

The following areas are covered in data collection extending to both inside and outside the venue: 

  • Volume per location 
  • Dwell times per location 
  • Most popular locations by visitors,  
  • Most popular routes by visitors,  
  • Top routes by direction with average journey times 
  • Safest route analysis 
  • Event-based predictive evacuation strategy 
  • Visitor heatmap 
  • 3D imaging 
  • Raw.csv Download 

CrowdedVENUE is related to the PoC’s belonging to stadia and other high-profile indoor venues. CrowdedRAIL and CrowdedCITY are two of the other sectors under the Crowded umbrella where they are predominantly utilised by the public sector as part of a multi-faceted range of consultancy services.  

However, CrowdedVENUE has been developed to help the end-user more directly in a manner that is extra simple, clear and easy to use. This approach enables the client to improve visitor safety whilst increasing revenue generation. 

 

The CrowdedVENUE service creates an increased level of value compared to its core function. By providing the stadium the means to transcend all current data collection and football monitioring solutions in favour of a real-world IoT “smart” service, it has everything required to become the global standard in crowd safety and visitor experience tools. 

“CrowdedVENUE is one of several services in the range that offers seamless integration into existing infrastructure via its API function.” they said.  

“Crowded is a fantastic solution for new works as a standalone service, but when a major venue already exists, such as a stadium, it is usual for that environment to be operating a proprietary app for visitors, usually based around experience.  

“The CrowdedVENUE API gives you the best of both worlds, allowing you to retain the control and familiarity of your current services, whilst seamlessly integrating the entire value proposition of Crowded.  

“For venues that do not have a current consumer-focused application, CrowdedVENUE is again the perfect choice for you.  

We will guide you through the design, installation and testing phases of installing a visitor app and the Crowded back-end analysis package, helping you to maximise value for both the venue and its visitors, with minimal operational impact.” 

Crowded not only tracks movement of crowd behaviour accessible, robust and cost-effective, but does it in a manner that is safe and secure, making sure that personal information of all visitors is protected. 

With Data Protection and Privacy Law being such a growing concern, Crowded was built specifically to protect the personal information of visitors alongside the integrity of the data the service gathers.” they said. 

“Any potential personal information is anonymised at source, by the hardware itself. This ensures that no personal information is ever in our possession. 

“In addition to this, Crowded provides the user with all the raw data gathered in .csv format. This gives each user the opportunity to observe the integrity of both the data set and the analysis performed by the application.” 

With a variety of data capture services available, CrowdVENUE presents as the ideal point of call for the safe recommencement of fans to stadiums with COVID-19 slowly easing in Australia. 

For more information on Crowded, including extra details on each individual sector, pricing packages and contact, you can find it here. 

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