Manchester City Football Club (MCFC) is to launch a major trial of mobile contactless technology at its football ground, in which 50 pre-selected fans will use near field communication (NFC) enabled handsets to enjoy a range of services.
During the first phase of the trial, to commence in early 2008, fans will be able to access the stadium using their NFC-enabled handsets as a dematerialised ticket. In the later stages of the trial MCFC expects to roll-out multiple applications of the technology, including purchasing refreshments and merchandise, and issuing loyalty discounts via the handset.
MCFC is conducting the trial in conjunction with Orange.
Duncan Martin, head of retail at MCFC, told Information Age that the club cannot take the loyalty of its fans for granted, and is working towards greatly enhancing the entire experience of attending a home football match.
Cashless, NFC-enabled transactions will reduce queuing times, improve the convenience of transactions, and allow the club to reward consistently loyal fans.
“Consumers want more and they demand a better, quicker service. The mobile ticket is three times faster than using a paper ticket, and it’s more secure,” said Martin. “It should also allow us to attract more families,” he told Information Age.
Orange is also working with transport company Reading Buses to support an NFC-enabled paperless ticket trial.
James Freeman, CEO of Reading Buses, said he expected the trial to improve the service by reducing customer-related delays, and to enhance the company’s reputation as a technology innovator.
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