The PTI Digital consultancy believes it has helped “establish a template” for major events after its work enabling Edgbaston stadium to host the recent cricket Test match between England and New Zealand.
The game, which ran from June 10-13, was the first pilot event in the second phase of the UK Government’s Event Research Programme, with 18,000 supporters, 70% of Edgbaston’s capacity, allowed in each day. PTI claims 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, technology partner of the home of Warwickshire County Cricket Club in Birmingham, 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, PTI said 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.
Initially 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 Test a success, adding this should give the country confidence in re-opening further venues at the right time.
PTI helped redesign 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 – as well as taking Edgbaston cashless through the likes of in-app pre-ordering and click and collect functionality.
Consumer Wi-Fi and providing fans with wayfinding tools to reduce close contact in queues for toilets and bars were also part of PTI’s remit. The company said other benefits included:
- 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 (€99,000/$118,000) 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.
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, added: “Naturally we were thrilled to be asked to stage this pilot and see crowds back at Edgbaston, but we recognised 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.”