Nike Fuel band. Fitbit. Up by Jawbone. Samsung watch. Soon the Apple iWatch. The list of “wearables” could go on. One of the latest trends in sport and leisure fashion is combining with one of the hottest new technologies in commerce, contactless payments, brought together by Barclaycard’s bPay band and Southampton FC.
It was announced Monday that the two had agreed upon a potentially revolutionary partnership that will see Southampton FC have the first ever offering of the Barclaycard bPay contactless payment band for its fans. The Saints exclusive bPay band will be offered in the club’s colors and have the official logo of course.
This represents a major step forward in the soccer industry, and sports industry at large, in fan and consumer engagement. The bPay band is not just about providing fans with a convenient and very easy vehicle to pay for their tickets and concessions, but it will also simultaneously be able to gather valuable data about the club’s fans. Southampton will then be able to in turn analyze that data, and hopefully, use it to continue to improve the overall fan experience for the Saints faithful.
Director of digital consumer payments at Barclaycard, Mike Saunders, stated,
We are really excited to be working with Southampton FC as they have shown a clear vision for incorporating technology across the fan experience and a passion for growing their understanding of what’s important for Saints supporters. By working with them we plan to develop an ‘all-in-one’ match day experience and enhance the way the club engages with its fans. We hope this partnership is the first of many opportunities in creating an integrated wearable device with benefits for both businesses and customers.
In a fragmented technological world, companies that differentiate in their offering and solution set, like Barclaycard, will win the day. Wearables aren’t really “new” anymore, but a wearable contactless payment band in the sports industry certainly is, and when that innovation not only provides a point of differentiation for a club to be able to provide its fans, but also delivers invaluable fan insights at the same time, it becomes a winning proposition.
The club’s Director of commercial operations said,
Southampton Football club is very excited to be the first football club to partner with Barclaycard’s bPay band. This partnership hopefully clearly demonstrates our commitment both to driving innovation through every part of our football club, but also to providing the best experience for our fans, on match days and beyond. Southampton Football Club is constantly looking into ways of improving the experience of every football fan that comes to St Mary’s.
As technological advances continue to grow at an exponential rate, it will be increasingly important for clubs to dedicate resources and invest, strategically, in devices and systems that will increase their capabilities in a variety of different areas of operations and functions within the organization if they want to remain competitive. It’s not just about the cool new gadget – rather what that gadget, or system, or whatever the case may be can do to drive business results. Southampton and Barclaycard are off to a great start with the bPay band, and over the next few years we should expect to see more innovative solutions emerge in this rapidly growing space.