As one of the most advanced stadia in the world, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium has utilised mobile technology to further enhance fan connection to the English Premier League football club’s new home.

After Tottenham Hotspur venue director Andy O’Sullivan discussed how the facility has overcome its ‘toughest of starts’ at TheStadiumBusiness Summit 2020, the club’s senior lead for digital products, Alex Hunte, outlined how the Spurs Official app has become an intrinsic element of the matchday experience.

In a presentation entitled Bringing Fans Closer To The Game Through Mobile, Hunte said that with mobile being the primary method of delivering information to the fan, the app has played a key role. “When we launched the app our aims were to be admired across the world, to be loved by the fans and valued by the club,” he said, with the full presentation available to view below.

Developed in association with experience automation platform Realife Tech, the app was designed to deliver a tailored offering around the concept of ‘here, near and far’. Hunte said: “The app has two key roles – as a venue and matchday companion, and as a traditional club app.

“This is a typical challenge faced by many football clubs, and it remains a challenge. You don’t want to dilute your product offering with many separate apps, but we also know that the best apps tend to have a singular focus delivering one function exceptionally well.

“For the ‘here’ context we use geographical and ticketing data to deliver specific information to fans at the stadium. This includes transport info, matchday tickets, and in the near future, a click and collect food and drink service.

“By contrast the ‘near and far’ contexts concentrate on typically match-related fan content building up to the game, before delivering live match coverage. On non-matchdays, we keep our fans engaged with exclusive app-only content and use our social channels to drive fans to our own platforms.”

Regarding the selection of Realife, Hunte said Tottenham prize adaptability when choosing suppliers, adding that “the current situation in the world has shown us how important flexibility is”. He stated: “One of the key reasons we selected Realife Tech to be our app provider was that they had a collaborative approach built around a flexible method that we needed.

“This gives us the ability to jointly innovate, sometimes taking the lead and other times receiving the benefits of platform upgrades delivered by Realife across their portfolio of clients.”

The app launched the day before Tottenham’s first game in the new stadium, a 2-0 Premier League win over Crystal Palace on April 3, 2019, with Hunte stating that the platform’s digital and turn-by-turn wayfinding quickly became essential stadium services.

Tottenham has been able to learn on the job as the app has bedded in, with Hunte providing one example. He said: “We had not been able to capitalise on all our geotargeting capabilities due to Apple’s changes to permissions in its latest operating systems.

“We planned to use the app to encourage people to get to stadium early, as many of Realife Tech’s other clients do. However, the offering from our 60 concession stands, and our five feature bars, including our on-site brewery, means fans need little encouragement to arrive early. So one of the key challenges we thought we had wasn’t something the app needed to solve.”

Tottenham was briefly allowed to welcome fans back to its stadium for the Premier League match against Arsenal on December 6 and the UEFA Europa League clash versus Royal Antwerp on December 10. Fresh COVID-19 restrictions in London have subsequently ended this for the time being, with Hunte describing how the pandemic has accelerated a number of initiatives the club had in the pipeline.

“Whereas we always wanted to deliver seamless journeys, we now have to deliver actual contactless journeys,” he said. “From home to stadium we can minimise contact through NFC passes, identity linked tickets for track and trace, and a contactless food and beverage ordering service. Suppliers like Fortress, Ticketmaster and Realife Tech have made this possible.”

Looking to the future, Hunte added: “Mobile remains the key mechanism of delivery. Through a mobile device we can understand who you are, what you’re entitled to and confirm redemption and delivery at point of sale.

“However, whilst technology opens up opportunities we must always remember that first and foremost our fans come to the stadium because of what happens on the pitch.”

Attendees are able to watch sessions from all three days of TheStadiumBusiness Summit 2020 for the next 30 days through the event platform

The Summit returns to Manchester – in person, in the real world – on June 22-23, 2021.

Main Image: Tottenham Hotspur