English Championship football club Sunderland has entered into a partnership with people access solutions provider APT SKIDATA.
As part of the five-year deal, APT SKIDATA will upgrade and install access control technologies at the Stadium of Light ahead of the 2023-24 season.
The partnership is designed to provide Sunderland fans and guests at other stadium events with fast and secure access to the Stadium of Light, while reducing the club’s carbon footprint and contributing to its sustainability goals.
The agreement will see near field communication (NFC) ticketing technology adopted using SKIDATA’s Sweb eTicket service. The solution will allow fans to buy match tickets on Sunderland’s dedicated digital ticketing website, with NFC passes to be instantly delivered to their Apple Wallet or Google Wallet.
This means that supporters will only need to tap their smartphone or smartwatch at the new Flex.Gate readers to gain stadium access via the turnstiles. The hospitality and VIP guest experience is also being upgraded at the Stadium of Light through the deployment of the Door.Gate Pedestal reader.
Sunderland will work closely with APT SKIDATA during the off-season to produce comprehensive fan communications around how to download and use NFC passes for stadium entry. The change will come into effect next season following summer concerts at the stadium from Beyonce and P!NK.
Steve Davison, chief operating officer at Sunderland, said: “Following a comprehensive review of the global access control market, we identified APT SKIDATA as the outstanding long-term partner when contemplating the future of sports and event ticketing.
“Their recent award-nominated deployment of NFC ticketing at Leeds United continued to showcase their innovation and reliability – and their best-in-class adaptable hardware will ensure SAFC remains at the forefront of fan experience and stadium access for many years to come.”
Steve Murphy, managing director at APT SKIDATA, added: “We are thrilled to be working with Sunderland AFC as the club’s new access control partner. SAFC’s executive team undertook a robust and thorough process that fully explored the future landscape of ticketing and access control.
“Adding the Stadium of Light to our ever-expanding portfolio is a privilege for our organisation and we are proud to be working with a club that puts the supporter experience at the heart of its operations. We are excited to be supporting the club in achieving their digital innovation and sustainability goals.”