How can sporting venues adapt to a more cashless future?

Mirroring trends impacting the retail, entertainment and leisure sectors, sports business stakeholders are forced to adjust to the complexities of servicing a growing number of cashless consumers.

A new reality has dawned on all sports business leaders, as in 2018 contactless transactions doubled to £5.6 billion payments within the UK alone.

With cashless trends only set to grow further, sports businesses worldwide have been forced to rethink their day-to-day transactional frameworks servicing a consumer that is solely satisfied by instant engagements.

Closed-loop systems – personal bonds matter

The favoured option for football clubs catering large matchday crowds has been the development of ‘closed-loop payment systems’, allowing clubs to offer their fans ‘stadium specific’ technologies enabling payments.

Offering fans branded technologies such as a prepaid card, mobile app or digital wallet, to purchase goods, clubs that have participated in ‘closed-loop’ systems detail that they have gained valuable user data information.  

However, servicing further matchday volume at a contactless level, football clubs have been urged to implement payment frameworks matching cashless trends and contactless capacities.

Tottenham Hotspur – New Stadium Challenge

Expected to be opened by the start of the Premier League 2019/2020 football season, London football club Tottenham Hotspur FC has stated that its new stadium will deliver the most immersive and seamless matchday experience for thousands of fans.

Servicing huge crowd volumes within short bursts of time deem payment speed essential to keeping customers happy – leading the London club to the decision of making the entire stadium, and club store, cashless.

The clubs website reads: “The stadium has been designed with technology incorporated into the fabric of the building to enhance the fan experience, with free Wi-Fi in all areas and high-density mobile coverage.”

“A new free mobile app will be available to help you get the most out of your matchday…in our well-connected, cashless stadium, all payments are to be made using either a contactless card or via your mobile phone to help speed up service.”

Atletico Madrid – Cashless is the standard norm

La Liga football club, Atletico Madrid announced a four-year extension of their technology partnership with Telefonica focusing on revamping payment frameworks to meet matchday consumer satisfaction.

Moving to rebuild and repropose Atletico Madrid payment infrastructure, Telefonica details that cashless transactions have long been accepted as the standard norm.

The future – Cashless as a unifying dynamic

Beyond satisfying their matchday audiences, sports stakeholders acknowledge that all-encompassing cashless consumer trends will likely dominate all levels of a commercial enterprise.

Moving forward, building cashless dynamics supported with agile frameworks will be the core criteria for delivering value on commercial partnerships – be they with retailers, automotive, gambling firms etc…

In its essence, this ‘cashless conundrum’ states that sports stakeholders can no longer remain static with regards to their payment infrastructures and offering – put simply sports cannot afford to yet again be a slow starter on meeting a new technology dynamic.

Steve McArdle, Business Development Director at Verteda, noted stadiums are continuously striving to innovate new solutions to improve fan experience and that a cashless future can, in turn, help improve satisfaction.

He said: “Using apps to pay instead of cash is becoming the norm, and stadiums will start to see the app-pay effect impacting on their cash-card ratios.

“Stadiums can leverage this trend and develop more comprehensive loyalty programmes in the process – delivering benefits for both stadium operations and fans.”