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The return to spectator sports in Dubai: how to reassure your fans

Last week’s announcement that crowds can start to return to sporting events in Dubai has been a welcome one for the sports industry and sporting fans alike.

The Dubai Sports Council has confirmed that after many months of cancelled events, or events held behind closed doors, sporting events will once again be allowed to return to 30% of capacity.

The sports industry has been hit hard by the pandemic across the world. In Dubai, the Rugby Sevens were cancelled for the first time in their 51-year history, the Arabian Gulf League football is still being played behind closed doors, whilst domestic rugby still doesn’t have a return date.

Nevertheless, this latest development is a real positive step forward and the Dubai Government’s media office said on its website that “hundreds of events will be organized in various sports and regions,” following the announcement. You can check out the current list of events here.

Every country will have its own set of guidelines which businesses need to follow in order to put on events and welcome back the crowds. In Dubai there’s now a focus on implementing physical measures including touch free sanitisers, social distancing (2m), reduced capacity crowds, mandatory face coverings and so on. Event attendees will have to check in with a mobile app to allow for contact tracing and there will be entry point screening.

But can venues go further than these measures and why should they? 

We think so. We work with event organisers, venue and stadium teams across the globe and have seen the impact of the pandemic on the events industry first hand. Whilst countries are all at different stages in making the return to the ‘new normal’ we have some learnings which we thought would be useful to share. Re-establishing trust and safety at venues needs to be front and centre to ensure fans return in significant numbers. Why? Well, people are still really concerned about the virus, and there’s no guarantee that just because you open your doors again that people will readily return.

How can I reassure fans that it’s safe to return?

In our experience, we see that taking your event or venue cashless is a great opportunity to reduce the risk of COVID-19. Here’s why:

Reduce contact

With no cash to handle, no paper tickets, no credit cards to exchange with staff and no PIN terminals contact between fans and staff is minimised. RFID or QR codes are used for transactions, so customers can purchase at a longer distance than any other payment methods. This helps to reduce the risk for both fans and staff.

Minimise queues

Cashless payment systems reduce queues as transactions are made quickly, making social distancing readily achievable. Plus, your fans will love you for it. Furthermore, with real time data insights available, you can quickly see if any bottlenecks exist around your venues. React quickly to these situations by switching staff from one area to another, or open additional concessions.

Increase your profits

On average, our customers see a 22% increase in profit at events when they implement our cashless ecosystem. This year, there’s been a massive downturn in the use of cash transactions across the world. It’s now a great opportunity to take your event or venue cashless. Contactless payments and online shopping have grown dramatically and the adoption of mobile payments is surging.

Your cashless payment options

We offer a few different ways for you to go cashless – either cashless RFID wristbands, a white label fan app or even a hybrid solution.

Cashless RFID

Cashless wristbands work in a similar way to a prepaid credit card where event attendees pre-load a cash amount onto a QR wristband. When the attendee wants to pay for anything at the event they simply tap the wristband to a reader and the transaction amount is deducted from the account balance. 

White label mobile app

Alternatively, you can integrate our white label payment app with your existing fan app and provide a seamless experience to your fans.

With either solution, you get all the customer data so you’ll know what your fans are buying, when and where. With this rich customer insight you can make decisions to further enhance the fan experience and drive profit.

Tappits’ cashless system has been used for various events in Dubai including Wake Up Call and The Last Stand where we implemented our cashless RFID solution in only 8 days. 

In summary

The global pandemic has had a devastating effect on individuals and businesses around the world and the sports industry is no exception. As many countries now start to gear up for the return of fans to live sports, the opportunities to go cashless should not be overlooked. 

There has been no better time to make this change; the move to cashless and the adoption of mobile payment methods has accelerated beyond expectations. And events, now more than ever need to maximise profits, drive fan engagement and keep fan and staff safety paramount. To do that, customer data and insight is key; a cashless payment system provides you with rich customer data that is only available if you go cashless with the right solution.

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