Ahead of TheStadiumBusiness Summit 2023, Darren Parker, Head of IT Systems at Portsmouth FC, shares his thoughts on the current trends and opportunities in the stadium IT marketplace, along with what’s on the agenda for the English League One football club and its Fratton Park home.
Parker joined Portsmouth in October after over five years at Southampton FC. His tenure at the recently relegated Premier League club concluded with a spell as IT Operations Manager from February 2021.
TheStadiumBusiness: What are the key current challenges and opportunities in the stadium marketplace from an IT perspective?
Darren Parker: “Energy and sustainability continue to be high on the agenda. Prior to the current global climate this was more to do with green initiatives, but now it has the additional consideration of ensuring resiliency on failure of local and global services.
“Another topic that continues to be high on the agenda is managing fan and guest experience – both match and non-match day.”
TSB: What are the most interesting trends you are witnessing in the stadium sector from an IT viewpoint?
DP: “Circling back to the point above, it’s been interesting to see what stadium and event spaces are doing to support energy and sustainability and also, with budgets potentially strained, how they can do more with less.”
TSB: What’s on the roadmap for Portsmouth and Fratton Park over the next six to 12 months?
DP: “Everything! Portsmouth FC work very closely with supporter groups and are constantly finding solutions to try and accommodate requirements. We’re over two years into significant stadium and training ground renovations which are starting to come to fruition.
“As part of this journey, we’re reviewing how technology can play a part in what we’re doing. One example of this is our current trial of a BEMS (Building Energy Management System) and how this can support us in reducing our carbon footprint and energy costs.
“By the time this is published we will have concluded a number of tenders covering mobile and fixed line services and IT service. The main objectives of these have been to be innovative in the solutions selected and help support integrations across the club to support fan and guest journeys whilst also increasing revenue opportunities.”
TSB: What are you looking forward to most about the Summit?
DP: “I love attending the Summit and getting to hear experiences and content on the successes and learnings from other clubs and venues.”
JOIN DARREN PARKER – AND HUNDREDS OF COLLEAGUES FROM THE SECTOR – AT THESTADIUMBUSINESS SUMMIT 2023 IN MANCHESTER ON 28-29 JUNE. SIGN UP HERE.