In a first for South Africa, Vodacom Bulls’ season ticket holders simply tapped contactless cards to gain instant access to the Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria last week. NFC-enabled turnstile access-control and ticketing systems were installed at all 100 gates and on the first day some 700 fans, issued with cards containing the game ticket and other event information, successfully used NFC (near-field-communications) ticketing. Blue Label Telecoms Limited, in conjunction with Ticketpros and liquidNFC, brought paperless NFC ticketing to sports and eventing to South Africa.
“We are delighted to bring NFC ticketing to sports and events in South Africa. NFC is a secure and reliable solution, allowing supporters to buy and receive tickets at their convenience, without having to collect or print them. Supporters simply purchase their tickets on their mobile phones or website and tap their NFC cards to gain access” says Dr David Fraser, Chief Technology Officer at Blue Label Telecoms.
“In addition, an NFC card offers a complete fan experience extending beyond ticketing to include meeting players, parking, VIP access, in-stadium purchases, promotions, competitions, loyalty rewards and more” he adds. This, according to Fraser, enables clubs and sponsors to engage with supporters to enhance the event experience. Blue Label also operates the Blue Bulls’ Supporters Club, with an objective of expanding the reach of the Blue Bulls brand into new communities and taking the “Bulls Experience” off-site and national.
Vodacom Bulls’ Marketing and Communications Manager, Richard Papo said: “it is now so easy to get tickets and to gain access to Loftus Versfeld – no more old-style ticketing and fussing at the turnstiles. The card is like one-stop-shopping, it’s efficient and a good experience all round.”
Citing recent research, Fraser added that NFC for customer support was one of the fastest growing application areas for the technology and one that combined speed and ease of use with high customer acceptance. “NFC simultaneously solves both the needs of fans – for convenience and a richer experience and of sports clubs – for closer engagement with their loyal supporters. We already have similar ticketing solutions for other stadiums and for a variety of sporting codes. These will bring new experiences to supporters and provide enhanced marketing channels for sponsors and brand owners in time,” he concluded.