Campeonato Brasileiro Serie A football club Corinthians has agreed a 10-year stadium technology partnership with US IT giant IBM in what is claimed to be the first deal of its kind for a Latin American sports team.

The agreement for Arena Corinthians, which opened in May 2014 ahead of Brazil’s staging of that year’s FIFA World Cup, is expected to provide key benefits this year. Through the partnership, Corinthians aims to be able to provide insights for its coaching and technical staff while transforming the fan experience at the stadium.

IBM will help modernise and manage the whole information technology environment of Arena Corinthians with cognitive delivery capabilities through the IBM Services Platform with Watson and the club’s ‘Fiel Torcedor’ loyalty platform hosted on the IBM Cloud, as well as integrating third party systems.

IBM will also manage legacy systems, which will be updated and improved, such as the current stadium access turnstiles in compliance with FIFA standards, as well as the management of the club’s fan program system and ticket selling.

Corinthians currently has over 117,000 Fiel Torcedor members, while it is estimated that the club has more than 33 million fans in Brazil. In association with IBM, Corinthians expects to double the number of fans registered in the loyalty program in the next 18 months, by offering new products and services.

Luis Paulo Rosenberg, marketing director of Corinthians, said: “We are convinced of the benefits that a global partner like IBM can bring to Corinthians in general and to the Arena in particular, making the convergence of technologies and Artificial Intelligence key to a new era of possibilities for the fans, improving the experience of each and every Corinthians fan during and after the match day.

“There will be one way to support before and a whole new way after this contract, which will allow unprecedented ways of immersion in the most loved club of Brazil. Everything will change, and the passion, that’s always the same, will find new ways of expression from today onwards.”

IBM Brazil general manager, Antonio Martins, added: “Corinthians is leveraging Watson Artificial Intelligence to redefine the way we will experience soccer through its digital reinvention. The club has been pioneering and innovating to improve the experience, comfort, connectivity, engagement and communication of its fans in the games, in addition to expanding its opportunities of business and partnerships.”