IN a world-first for cricket, Cricket South Africa (CSA) and its technology partner, Blue Label Telecoms, today unveiled plans that will transform the experience of cricket fans at stadiums around the country.
Using the latest Near-Field Communication (NFC) technology, fans will soon be able to avoid queues and not need paper tickets or the inconvenience of having to drive to a store to pick them up as they will be able to purchase tickets, parking and food & beverages on their smart phone and use them with the simple tap of a card.
These new Love Cricket NFC cards, issued by CSA’s Love Cricket fan programme, will bring fans numerous benefits, including:
- Buy match tickets online from anywhere at any time by using a smart phone or PC and never needing to collect paper tickets or print them at home;
- Buy tickets for family and friends and instantly send these to their Love Cricket NFC cards;
- Buy multiple tickets on their Love Cricket NFC card;
- Receive confirmation of their seat allocation by SMS or by e-mail and enable the ticket holder to query and confirm their seats at any time on their mobile phone via USSD;
- Tap-to-park and tap-to-enter the stadium;
- Tap-to-pay for food & beverages and access VIP beer queues;
- Access to special Love Cricket events and promotions at the game and at sponsored events.
Cricket South Africa will be the first National Sports Federation in South Africa to roll out this exciting new ticketing system. NFC technology is already in use by various sporting codes in Europe and the USA, but CSA will set the lead on the African continent and in the cricketing world.
“We are very excited and, of course, proud to launch NFC technology in cricket,” said CSA Chief Executive, Haroon Lorgat. “From the extensive research we have done over the past few seasons, fans have consistently raised the stadium experience as a focal issue for them.
“With partners like Blue Label, we can now work towards enhancing the stadium experience for fans so that they can enjoy convenience and actively support the Proteas and the Franchise teams live at stadiums,” added Lorgat.
The introduction of the NFC cards will be done in a phased approach.
The twelve largest stadiums are currently being upgraded with world-leading NFC technology to make the fan experience both fun and convenient.
Starting with ticketing and access for the 2014/2015 season, other benefits such as parking and in-stadium purchasing will gradually be added to make attendance at matches that much more enjoyable.
Blue Label CTO, Dr David Fraser, commented: “The solution deployed for CSA uses NFC technology which means that tickets, vouchers, coupons, value and other information can be securely exchanged between the Love Cricket NFC card and an NFC reader/writer by simply bringing them near to each other. This means that the same card and same technology can be used for all aspects of the fan’s experience, both within and outside the stadium. This is an industry first.
“By linking a Love Cricket NFC card with a fan’s mobile phone we bring the best of the real world and the Internet world together in a form with which people are familiar. Over time, as the number of NFC phones in circulation increases, we will allow virtual cards to be used on our fan’s phones eliminating the need to carry a separate card,” he added.
“For the 2014 season, the benefits of the Love Cricket NFC card will be offered exclusively to Love Cricket Silver and Gold members. The 2015 season will see the Love Cricket NFC card being opened up to all fans and not just Love Cricket Members,” Fraser concluded.
Mark Levy, Blue Label joint CEO, commented: “Blue Label is proud to bring our ticketing and access solutions to CSA. This underlines our commitment as CSA’s technology partner and Proteas T20 sponsor.”
He concluded: “As part of the wider bouquet of Blue Label services, we are uniquely positioned to offer leading ticketing and fan-support services. This announcement marks a significant milestone in next-generation ticketing.”
Fans are reminded that tickets are still available for the upcoming Sunfoil Test Series between the Castle Lager Proteas and Australia. Tickets are available through www.ticketpros.co.za, Postnet Outlets or at the Stadium Ticket Offices. Love Cricket members are also reminded to make use of their discount benefits when purchasing tickets.