The second test between England and New Zealand was the first pilot event in the second phase of the Government’s Event Research Programme, with 18,000 supporters (70% of Edgbaston’s capacity) allowed in each day. The pilot event was a landmark step forward in re-opening sports and entertainment venues, delivered through a technological lens which saw a 280% uplift in digital engagement.
PTI Digital, Edgbaston’s Technology Partner, has played a crucial role in ensuring both a seamless customer experience and a COVID-secure event. Edgbaston had only two weeks’ notice to prepare for the return of supporters at such scale. Despite this, the results exceeded expectation and set a benchmark for how an integrated data, digital and technology strategy can and should drive the customer experience at events.
First engaged in early 2019 to enable the first steps in its digital transformation vision, PTI coordinated and orchestrated Edgbaston’s technology and digital estate to ensure each component was integrated to create a multiplier effect that made the day a huge success and which should give the country confidence in re-opening further venues at the right time.
From redesigning the ticketing process – which included the requirement to consent to be a part of the pilot study and which mandated all tickets to be presented digitally – to going cashless, in-app pre-ordering and click and collect functionality, to consumer Wi-Fi and providing fans with wayfinding tools to reduce close contact in queues for toilets and bars, PTI’s strategic approach enabled a frictionless customer experience and ensured customer safety.
There were other benefits too:
- Edgbaston reported 37,575 new mobile app downloads and a more than 314,000 engagements with the app functionality suite across the test match
- With the average ticket basket size being 3.8 across 48,750 total tickets issued across the first three days, Edgbaston’s new digital ticketing suite ensured the data registration of four times as many customers as would otherwise have been the case
- Addressable audience was further enhanced through Wi-Fi data capture points to enable personalisation, whilst Food and Beverage revenue via the mobile app stood at more than £85,000 across the first three days alone
- Average wait times for click and collect Food and Beverage orders were under 90-seconds
- Average Wi-Fi speeds across the ground often exceeded over 50MB per device (upload and download) through peak periods, enabling the digital engagement as highlighted above
Mike Bohndiek, Chief Executive at PTI Digital said “We were delighted to play a part in ensuring a successful pilot event for our partners at Edgbaston. Leading from strategy to execution of their integrated technology and digital transformation over the past two and a half years, we were able to demonstrate the true power of digital experience for this event. It is testament to Edgbaston’s far-reaching outlook to have invested in its digital and technology infrastructure at the start of our engagement and they are now reaping the rewards. We believe we have helped establish a template for other major events as we all look forward to full houses becoming the norm again.”
Stuart Cain, Chief Executive at Edgbaston said “Naturally we were thrilled to be asked to stage this pilot and see crowds back at Edgbaston, but we recognized that the definition of fan experience has changed over the last 628 days since we last hosted a major event. We had the technology and digital foundations in place through our long-term work with PTI, but they were able to rapidly expand our capabilities and through their operations, the results speak for themselves. We believe what we have achieved will become the minimum expectation for event goers in the future and look forward to challenging ourselves to continue innovating with PTI’s end-to-end support.”
PTI Digital is a technology, data and digital-focused business, providing world-class venue technology expertise and digital-led business transformation journeys for clients. Specialists in the sport and entertainment industries, PTI opened its first overseas office – in Australia – in early 2021 and more recently launched a presence in the MENA region, reflecting its growing global footprint.
In addition to Edgbaston, PTI Digital work with OakView Group & Co-op Live, Ashton Gate & Bristol Sport, Norwich City, Wasps, UK Pro League and the National Basketball League & Derwent Entertainment Centre in Australia amongst many more.
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