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Football Shows How to Organise Major Events in the New Normal

Event organisers can finally breathe a sigh of relief. Relaxed corona regulations and the recent availability of grants mean that exciting concerts, sports matches, conventions, and other events can once again take place. However, to ensure that the risk of infection is kept as low as possible, organisers must primarily focus on avoiding tightly packed crowds of people. Preventing long queues at ticket offices or in shops is a key point in this regard. Contactless payment options can really help here. These are therefore establishing themselves as the new standard, as the world of football is already showing.


Football Playing a Trendsetting Role

For the first time in many months, football stadiums are once again filling up, conveying a certain sense of normality – albeit the new normality. As such, the start of the 2021 summer sports calendar was subject to various rules, restrictions, and strict hygiene measures. The key focuses here were avoiding tightly packed crowds of people, maintaining a safe distance, and implementing preventive measures. Football clubs like FC St. Pauli used the pandemic to take further steps towards digitalising existing processes. For example, partnering with Unzer enables the club to accept contactless payments everywhere in the stadium. In this blog post, we’ll explain why this is so important for other event organisers and how the events sector can benefit from the experience gained in the world of football.

Contactless Payments Should Be Made Available Everywhere

Have you made at least one contactless payment with a card, smartphone, or smartwatch in the last three months? If the answer to this question is yes, then you are among the overwhelming majority of 85% of German residents. This was the result of a survey conducted by Bitkom in March 2021. Contactless payment is now clearly becoming the standard. The mix of payment methods on offer should therefore definitely include contactless options for life in the "new normal".

Why Should Event Organisers Introduce Contactless Payment Options?

Tills in shops and eating establishments are particularly problematic when it comes to gatherings of people. The longer a payment process takes, the longer the respective queue grows. Contactless payments, on the other hand, are simply faster. People who pay using their smartphone do not even need to get their wallet out. In addition, contactless payments are perceived as more hygienic. The convenience and security offered by contactless payment should not be underestimated. Indeed, many people like to have as few valuables as possible on them when attending events and therefore prefer to make contactless payments using their smartphone or smartwatch. As such, it is particularly practical for fans to simply leave their wallet at home. In addition, biometric protective measures such as fingerprint sensors or face ID ensure that payment processes are particularly secure, even when paying without a card.

Contactless payment is faster and more hygienic than cash or conventional card payment.

What Contactless Payment Options Are Available?

  • Debit cards and credit cards with NFC: The latest bank cards come with NFC (near field communication) functionality. This makes it possible simply to hold the card up to an NFC-enabled terminal and pay for low-cost items without the need for entering a PIN.
  • Smartphone with wallet apps: Most smartphones today are NFC-enabled. This allows bank cards to be added to wallet apps for use with Apple Pay or Google Pay.
  • Smartwatches: Many smartwatches support contactless payments via Apple Pay or Google Pay.

Best Practice: Contactless Payments at FC St. Pauli

FC St. Pauli, a football club steeped in tradition, was well prepared for the new season. With a partner like Unzer at its side, the club can now offer contactless payment options throughout its stadium. This includes the fan shop, as well as the various food and drink stands on offer. The club's initial feedback has also been thoroughly positive:

Our comprehensive hygiene measures enable us to bring people together to enjoy live football again. Health protection remains our top priority here. It is extremely important to us that our spectators feel safe. I believe it is fair to say that we have achieved this.

Bernd von Geldern, Sales Director at FC St. Pauli

Further Measures That Are Now Important

To make it possible for events to be held successfully, the hygiene measures introduced by the organisers must consider many different points. FC St. Pauli relies on the following measures for all events here:

  • Tickets: All tickets are now digital and can only be purchased in advance. The tickets are also assigned to a specific person and non-transferable.
  • Limited capacity: Most spectator terraces in German football stadiums are not yet at full capacity. Although full capacity is already permitted at some venues, it is only being introduced in a step-by-step approach in line with pandemic-related developments and in the interests of the spectators.
  • Entry windows : FC St. Pauli works with entry windows. Here, each spectator is assigned a specific time slot for entering the stadium. This is carefully managed with a view to avoiding large crowds.
  • Face masks, vaccination and testing rules: Face masks are quite literally still on everyone's lips and have not lost any of their relevance. In fact, those visiting the stadium for FC St. Pauli matches are only permitted to remove their masks once they are sitting in their assigned seat. Vaccination and testing rules are also in place.

Positive Overall Impact for Football

A great deal of uncertainty continues to surround major events. Yet despite this, a great number of organisers (including FC St. Pauli) are already drawing positive conclusions for the 2021 event year. They used the many months of lockdown to prepare everything thoroughly and devise strict hygiene measures – thereby paving the way to the new normal.