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Ticketing partners come together to support the return of fans to live sport

Three of the biggest online ticketing companies in the UK have come together to develop a set of guidelines to support the return of fans to live sporting events. SeatGeek Sport, Ticketmaster Sport and SecuTix have worked in partnership to identify a framework of ticketing standards for the industry.

The work was carried out on behalf of the Sports Technology and Innovation Group, set up by the Government in September to identify technological solutions for the safe return of fans.

The guidelines include a 10-step process through the fan journey from ticket purchase to post-event communication. The steps include a fan risk assessment, identifying modes of transport, a pre-event health questionnaire and notifications before and after the event. It identifies the minimum requirement for ticketing companies, along with the gold standard to aim for.

While the approach has been developed for the return of fans to sports grounds, the principles can be used for the management of ticket sales for all live events. This partnership approach is a first for the industry and highlights the commitment to finding positive solutions to the unprecedented situation currently facing the entire live event industry.

Nigel Huddleston, Minister for Sport, Tourism and Heritage, said: “A crucial step forward for sport’s recovery from coronavirus is the return of fans. Coupled with the Government’s new guidance around their safe return from 2 December with capacity limits in place, the work of some of our leading ticket companies will ensure fans know how to play their part and minimise the risk of spreading coronavirus. By working together, we will be able to get crowds back to larger capacities as soon as it is safe to do so.”

David Ross, Chair of the Sports Technology and Innovation Group, said: “I’m delighted that three of the country’s largest ticketing companies have come together to identify a way forward that not only sets the standard for the return of fans to sport events, but helps to keep them safe. The atmosphere at stadiums is hugely important and it’s built on fans being in the stands. So it’s great that we will be able to get back to cheering our teams again soon.”

Peter Joyce, Managing Director of SeatGeek Sport, said: “The number one goal is to ensure that sports clubs across the country are able to welcome back fans in a safe and secure manner. It’s great to see so many organisations come together as one to collaborate and share ideas for the common benefit of so many sports clubs and fans. We look forward to seeing sports fans return to stadiums and venues over the coming weeks and hope to progress to further increased capacities when possible”.

Adam Newsam, Chairman of Ticketmaster Sport, said: “Sport has the unique ability to bring the entire nation together, and with this set of guidelines we hope to get fans safely back into stadiums as soon as we can to cheer on the sport they love. Working with the industry, we’ve been mindful to ensure these protocols can work for all sporting clubs, big or small, and whatever their own unique requirements may be. Our hope is that by leading the charge here to get fans back to live sport, we can pave the way for other sectors to follow.”

David Hornby, Managing Director of SecuTix UK & Ireland, said: “This is a significant first step to achieving the ultimate goal of a return to full stadiums. We’re pleased that the sports ticketing sector came together to advise the government and that we now have an agreed set of standards that can be met across all levels of sport. All levels were important. We recognise that venues have different systems, some more technologically advanced than others, and varying pressures on resources, and that is why our recommendations are scalable, from the minimum standard to a ‘gold’ level. No matter which current ticketing system a venue uses and the resources they have internally, they will be able to achieve the protocols and start to welcome fans backs safely.”

SeatGeek client Charlton Athletic will be one of the first teams in the UK to welcome back fans for a league game since March, when they entertain MK Dons at The Valley on 2nd December, with 2,000 fans in attendance.