Liverpool FC are amongst the first Premier League Clubs to get their act together regarding the introduction of digital Season Tickets. The introduction of e-tickets next year is inevitable, but clubs will be scrutinised in their methods to ensure that the introduction of such technology is for the right reasons.
Liverpool FC have confirmed that they are issuing a 'download once' code for the 2021/22 season at Anfield. The advantages of a 'download once' code, includes the ability for the paying fan to keep control of their Season Ticket purchase, and make their own arrangements to use their code in a format that suits them - rather than the issuing football club. They have also introduced a scheme that allows ST Holders to link up to 20 friends to the same ticket.
A Statement from the LFC website reads...
'The use of NFC (Near Field Communication) technology for stadium entry using a digital ticket stored on your smart mobile phone
All season ticket holders will be required to download an NFC digital pass onto their smart phone by Monday July 26 in order to gain access into Anfield during the new season.
The pass will only need to be downloaded once for 2021-22 and will replace existing season ticket access cards and paper tickets for all home games, including cup ties.'
I personally applaud LFC's fast and decisive action - I would though, as it makes my 'shiny' collectible suitable for LFC Season Ticket Holder's. There are of course concerns from elderly fans, and fans, like myself, on the autistic spectrum that simply don't relish more technology - especially as it adds extra steps to the customer journey.
As things currently stand, West Ham Utd intend to distribute a code for each game, meaning that these somewhat unecessary entry steps will need to be undertaken each and every game - which will be unthinkable during 2-match weeks that the Europa Cup brings.
Logic dictates that the issuing of 'a-code-a-match' is nothing more than a control mechanism in the club's favour. It will allow them to keep the entry code until the last possible moment, meaning the paying fan cannot make alternative arrangements with their ST purchase. This also allows the club to indulge into some concerning data harvesting.
Above all this, experience suggests that the stewarding arrangement agreed by the club is in no way suitable for the 'code per match' system, with even Wembley Stadium's staff and entry technology struggling to cope during the Euro's last week. What also makes football a different prospect than most other events is that the spectators habitually arrive at the venue at a similar time.
The launch of the 'contactless coded card' is something I was involved in for VISA in 2012, ironically at Stratford at the Olympic Games. I have offered my opinion and help to West Ham United Executive Director. However, like the ISC before me, all talk about this subject has fallen of deaf ears.
I hope West Ham United take note at what is happening at Anfield. Time is running out. This morning Manchester United added more pressure by also adopting a 'download once' ticket code.