wee makes an impression with the world’s first open stadium payment system
Unparalleled networking of innovative mobile payment and cashback with arena, retail trade and e-commerce
weeConomy AG made a strong impression in the context of the most significant event for decision-makers regarding stadium management and the arena infrastructure. 730 guests – including representatives of a good 50 pro clubs such as RB Leipzig, Kölner Haie Eishockey, Borussia Dortmund, SC Freiburg, Bröndby Kopenhagen, Besiktas Istanbul, and Rapid Wien – followed the call of the event organisers to the Commerzbank-Arena in Frankfurt, where they got up to date with the latest developments, exchanged ideas amongst experts and networked intensively at the wee ARENA SUMMIT.
Throughout the two days, four topics were the main subject of focus in the forums and during the conversations: the next stage of development in the digitalisation of stadiums, added emotional value for the fans, the growing demands on security at live events and the challenges faced for the successful implementation of the European football championship UEFA EURO 2020, with 24 participants and 51 games, which will be hosted at 12 cities across Europe and Asia.
weeConomy AG positioned itself impressively as a driving force behind the digitalisation of arenas; this Swiss company is currently introducing its innovative mobile payment and cashback system wee in various regional markets across Europe. In his keynote speech, Oliver Kaiser, chairman of the advisory board of the wee-Division Sports & Entertainment, highlighted the Swiss company’s innovative strategy: “With our digitalisation of arenas, we are networking stadiums with the surrounding region for the fans. The weeCard or weeApp, which is employed by us in the digitalised arenas as a ticket and payment card, can also be used just as easily with stationary retailers that have joined forces with wee. In this way, fans of the clubs that play in a weeArena become customers for the retailers, and customers of the retailers in turn become fans.” The market for wee seems almost limitless, since the potential identified shows that out of the 7.6 billion people worldwide, five billion are real fans whose daily life is becoming increasingly more digital. “75 percent of all people, that is 3.75 billion fans, use bonus and loyalty programmes”, explained Kaiser, “but up until now, there haven’t been any club-owned programmes that actually pay off economically or that make sense for fans.”
The added value of the wee stadium payment system is conclusive for all those involved – stadium operators, pro clubs, fans and the stationary retail trade – in comparison with conventional arena payment methods. The facts and figures of the experimental weeArena Bad Tölz, home to the Tölzer Löwen ice hockey club in the DEL2, are a testament to the uniqueness of the first open stadium payment system in the world by wee, which synchronises cashless payment in stadiums with the local retail trade and e-commerce, rewarding customers’ and fans’ consumption with discounts of up to 20 percent. In the course of the collaboration with wee, an increase in spectator numbers of around 50 percent was achieved for home games of the hockey players – if the proportion of season tickets is twice as high as in the previous season, this results in up to 20 percent more revenue for catering and sales in the fan shop. Thanks to wee’s innovative mobile payment, the transaction volume in the catering stations has multiplied; long queues in the intermissions are now a thing of the past. By now – after a multi-stage introductory phase – the fans are fully familiarised with the new “touchpoints” such as the money recharging stations and vending machines!
Paul Greenough, leader of external sales UK at MPM International, was inspired by the talks, including with the operators of Wembley Stadium in London, where the finale of the European football championship UEFA EURO 2020 is to take place. “In the Premier League in particular”, explained the UK wee partner, “the motivation to introduce mobile payment to the stadiums is enormous, since on the one hand the issue of efficiency, and on the other the problem with hygiene are reason enough for the clubs to switch to cashless services as soon as possible.” Just recently, FC Liverpool decided to equip Anfield Road to make mobile payment possible. Both Paul and MPM Group partner Kenny Young are flying back to the United Kingdom with great enthusiasm and the feeling that, in perspective, wee mobile payment and wee cashback will also conquer the regional markets in the UK.
weeConomy AG can now make use of the Bad Tölz model, with its unmistakeable benefits, as a blueprint for the European roll-out and tapping into this market. The plan is for at least 25 further European regions with a good 100,000 additional stationary retailers and approx. 7.5 million consumers to be hooked up to the wee programme in the next five years. This plan foresees the respective sports arena in each area, which will be digitalised and networked with the stationary retail trade for the fans and customers, taking on the function as a sort of emotional beacon. One tried and tested technology partner of wee is the company simply-X, which is active throughout Europe and in Germany is one of the leading providers of hardware and software for, among other things, system solutions when it comes to visitor and access management.
With the Swiss premier-league football club FC Sion, the next stage of expansion with wee mobile payment and cashback is set to take place with the digitalisation of the distinguished, traditional “Stade de Tourbillon”, which has a capacity of 14,000 fans and over 10,000 visitors for home games. During his presentation at the wee forum, which took place in front of 200 guests including club representatives and stadium operators, Christian Baudoin, Chief Financial Officer for the two-time Swiss champion and record-holding cup winner, enthused about the new digital era in the Valais region. He explained how the highly successful club from Romandie did not take matters lightly when it came to selecting its mobile payment partner, analysing all systems in detail before eventually deciding on wee and the associated open stadium payment system. “Within the scope of very inflexible framework conditions, we are under constant pressure to improve our efficiency. The wee concept convinced us in multiple respects: for us as a club, for the fans and for the retail trade in Valais, which represents an important anchor of our pool of sponsors, it offers multiple added value to stand out against the competition. In this way, we are able to create a greater sense of loyalty amongst our fans and sponsors, and also hope to gain additional spectators by organising joint promotions with wee and the retailers.” In Romandie, wee aims to sign 4,000 stationary retailers to its network, and in doing so inspiring 400,000 consumers to actively use the weeCard and weeApp. Similar to Bad Tölz and Sion, in the eastern German region of Lusatia, the venue of the most significant regional pro club, DEL2 team Lausitzer Füchse, the digitalisation will also be introduced as a nucleus for the market introduction of wee.
In total, according to all the experts, the technological advancement when it comes to live entertainment can no longer be held back. And mobile payment will assume a central role in all this.
In order to make the wee system with all its advantages tangible for the individual, congress visitors were able to use their weeCard as an entrance ticket and try out the card loaded with credit as a form of wee mobile payment and cashback at various “touchpoints” – catering stations, beer and snack machines.
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