Delegates were presented with a packed and varied agenda at TheStadiumBusiness Tech Day – Twickenham from expert speakers at the RFU (5 April).
Opening the Tech Day, Ian Ritchie, Chief Executive, RFU welcomed guests to Twickenham Stadium and gave a brief overview of what delegates can expect to enjoy throughout the day.
After Ian concluded his opening speech, we welcomed to the stage Richard Knight, Stadium Director, RFU who explained the significant investment in the last two decades and the future developments at Twickenham.
Since the South Stand was given a significant upgrade in 2005, making Twickenham a complete wrap around stadium, Richard explained the RFU are not standing still.
“Our next project is upgrading the East Stand. It will improve on-site hospitality, non-match day conference and function rooms and increase revenue to invest back into the game.”
Ultimately, Richard explained everything that the RFU do is about improving the customer experience.
He told us: “Twickenham is all about arriving early and leaving late. In fact, 77% of fans arrive over an hour before kick off. It’s all about the fan experience.”
After Richard’s fascinating insights into Twickenham’s developments, the final session before lunch was brought to our delegates by George Vaughan, Senior Project Manager and Andy Ward, Head of Retail and Licensing to discuss the move from cash to contactless.
Since going from a predominantly single channel, cash-focused payment structure to one of the most advanced, multi-channel venues in Europe with over 500 contactless POS, Twickenham has seen exceptional results.
George told us: “Now 20% of our fans generate 50% of our card payments, which highlights just how much more customers spend on card.”
However, technology has not just been generating more revenue for Twickenham, it has also significantly lowered the variance at the stadium on match day.
Andy explained: “Variances are down to less than 0.5% for most major events and this is testament to our connected data.”
After a short networking and coffee break in ‘The Marketplace’ we heard from Barry Aherne, Event Marketing Manager and Jonathan Harris, Finance Director.
The RFU has partnered with some high-profile and influential sponsors and we found out how these leading names are engaging and activating fans on match days. LED videoboards supplied by Daktronics are able to broadcast real time statistics of the match and how fans watching from home can send personalised messages to the game, which can also be broadcast at Twickenham.
Barry excitedly told us of a new initiative Twickenham have launched this year: “We launched Facebook Live for our half time analysis show – inside the tunnel – which has had an exceptional response from fans tuning in around the world.”
After hearing from Barry and Jonathan we enjoyed a panel discussion with Richard Knight, Andy Ward, George Vaughan and Barry Aherne who answered a variety of questions from delegates enthused on finding out more on the technological upgrades and benefits to fans.
Lunch and networking hosted by Levy Restaurants in The Marketplace, allowed delegates to discuss everything they had learnt in the morning.
And last, but by no means least, we enjoyed an exclusive tech tour of Twickenham understanding the technological infrastructure of the stadium in action.
- The corporate boxes with tablet-based digital merchandise payment solutions;
- The Museum in action using a POS Cross-Marketing App;
- 1871 Bar and contactless, Apple Pay, Hawking App, IP-TV and how it benefits revenue streams;
- South Stand store, showcasing the self-service kiosk in action;
- Changing room and pitchside – understanding how the LED videoboards and LED ribbon boards have transformed the fan experience;
- The cash office – getting an in-depth insight into the revenue management system and understanding how Twickenham have achieved incredibly low variances on match day.
Following the tour, delegates arrived back to The Marketplace to have any questions from the tour answered by the RFU.
The day was perfectly summarised by a number of our delegates:
Philip Payne, Battersea Arts Centre: “Its been a thought provoking opportunity to explore the future of tech with tangible information which can be used back at the centre.”
Nick Rogers, SFC Group: “Ultimately, you’ve brought together all the big-hitters and it’s very impressive – well done!”
Nader Tahmassebi, Ricoh Arena: “The content has been fantastic and there has been plenty that we’ll be taking back to Ricoh Arena”
PS. Want more things tech? We’re heading to Belfast (11-12 October) wth The Venue Technology Meeting – Europe’s first meeting dedicated to the application of new technologies across sports, entertainment and event venues. Join us?
Photo credit for TheStadiumBusiness Tech Day: Leo Wilkinson Photography