Digital Ticketing Rollout at Principality Stadium’s Rugby Summer Series

The Summer Internationals 2021 at Principality Stadium saw the successful rollout of digital ticketing for WRU with 20,000 app downloads amidst the pandemic.

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Event Summary

Originally planned to be rolled out at the forthcoming 2021 Autumn Internationals Series, WRU pressed ahead with the app rollout with Tixserve in a matter of weeks to welcome the return of fans under Covid-restricted capacity.

Event

Summer Rugby Internationals 2021

Industry

Sports

Context

Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) is the governing body of rugby union in Wales - based at Principality Stadium in Cardiff. Responsible for the running of rugby in Wales, WRU oversees 320-member clubs, the Welsh national team, and National Leagues and Cups.

Challenge

Previously, event tickets at Principality Stadium were all paper-based which resulted in significant operational costs to WRU in ticket production and postage in managing the fulfilment process. 

Data of who was attending their events was limited to the lead booker or the administrator of larger stakeholder group-ticket allocations, for example, clubs and sponsors; which meant WRU had no real idea of their attendees. 

WRU required a digital ticket distribution solution that operated with their existing stadium ticket-selling technology and access control.

The fulfilment service needed to enable an accurate track and trace facility - particularly during Covid-19 - in order to know every ticket holder and communicate with them directly.

Approach

Having implemented digital ticketing solutions for other rugby unions and large-scale stadiums, such as England Rugby at Twickenham Stadium, Tixserve recognised how to align all stakeholders, third party technologies, and customer service staff for a successful rollout. A multi-faceted training, business transformation, staff and customer adoption programme also ran in parallel with the project implementation. 

To enable stadium compliance with post-pandemic event management rules that were set in place by the Welsh government, Tixserve implemented unique Covid-19-related features ahead of the launch. These included secure attendee registration, track and trace capabilities, mandatory health and safety video viewing, phased entry times, and attendee acceptance of T&Cs and Code of Conduct.

Outcomes

100% digital ticketing was implemented across the three fixtures of the rugby series. Quickly adopted by supporters, the stadium digital ticketing app was hailed a success by fans, and both stewards and staff working on the ground. 

Matthew Clarke, Ticketing Manager at WRU commented:

“I’m very pleased with the launch of digital ticketing at the summer games. It’s great to see how supporters and clubs have embraced this new technology. Working with Tixserve has been a fantastic experience, there’s so much potential to digital ticketing and the stadium app. I look forward to continuing this journey as we plan ahead to the Autumn Internationals”.

The phased entry time and gate number allocated on each digital ticket sped up entry and the technology behind the digital ticketing app allowed push notifications to be sent to ticket holders ahead of the game. This kept queues down to a minimum, evaded any crowding, and maintained a steady flow of fans into the stadium. 

The data assigned to each digital ticket enabled WRU to identify the end user and their seat within the stadium; and they had the ability to directly contact the end user for Track & Trace purposes. A feature which wouldn’t have been possible with a traditional paper ticket. 

Following the first game against Canada, Mark Williams, Stadium Manager, said:

“We’re delighted with how the event has run today. The phased entry system worked well with a steady flow of fans arriving at the gates and scanning the digital tickets was a smooth process. I’d like to thank the fans for their support and adhering to our new guidelines; we appreciate this wasn’t a typical match day experience but hope they enjoyed a fantastic display of rugby and it’s great to welcome fans back with such a brilliant win from Wales".

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