APT SKIDATA apt Stadium of Light access tech



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Sunderland AFC partners with Skidata Image: APT Skidata and Sunderland AFC

The EFL Championship club Sunderland A.F.C. (UK) has appointed APT SKIDATA, the United Kingdom’s leading provider of advanced people access solutions, as its new partner for access control.

‘APT SKIDATA’ stated that the new five-year partnership agreement will see APT SKIDATA upgrade and install the latest access control technologies at the Sunderland A.F.C. home – the Stadium of Light in Sunderland, England (UK) – which will be completed ahead of the 2023-2024 seasons.

The Sunderland Association Football Club is an English professional football club based in the City of Sunderland, Tyne and Wear (UK). Formed in 1879, Sunderland plays in the Championship, the second tier of English football. The club has won six top-flight titles in the First Division, and has finished runners-up five times.

The Stadium of Light is an all-seater football stadium in Sunderland, England (UK), and the eighth and current home to Sunderland A.F.C. With space for 49,000 spectators, the Stadium of Light is the ninth largest football stadium in England. The stadium primarily hosts Sunderland A.F.C. home matches.

Hertford (UK)-based APT SKIDATA is United Kingdom’s leading provider of parking and people access solutions, delivering SKIDATA products and services that stand out with exceptional design as well as intuitive ease of use and a high level of reliability. Its products and services guarantee fast and secure access for people and vehicles at hospitals, mixed-use environments, shopping centers, airports, Cities, sports stadiums, events, attractions, and more.

‘APT SKIDATA’ further stated that a key driver to upgrade with APT SKIDATA was the move to Near-Field Communication (NFC) ticketing using SKIDATA’s Sweb eTicket service. This will allow matchday fans and event visitors fast and secure access to the stadium whilst also helping to reduce the club’s carbon footprint and contributing to Sunderland A.F.C.’s sustainability goals.

The Near-field communication is a set of communication protocols that enables communication between two electronic devices over a distance of four cm or less. NFC offers a low-speed connection through a simple setup that can be used to bootstrap more capable wireless connections.

The NFC eTicket solution will allow fans to buy match tickets on the club’s dedicated digital ticketing website. These NFC Passes are instantly delivered to Apple Wallet or Google Wallet which means fans simply have to tap their smartphone or smartwatch at the new Flex.Gate readers to gain stadium access via the turnstiles. The hospitality and VIP guest experience is also being upgraded with the deployment of the Door.Gate Pedestal reader offering maximum flexibility and contactless access.

Stated Steve Davison, Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Sunderland A.F.C., “Following a comprehensive review of the Global Access Control market, we identified APT SKIDATA as the outstanding long-term partner when contemplating the future of sports and event ticketing. Their recent award-nominated deployment of NFC ticketing at Leeds United (Premier League club) continued to showcase their innovation and reliability – and their best-in-class adaptable hardware will ensure the Sunderland A.F.C. remains at the forefront of fan experience and stadium access for many years to come.”

Said Steve Murphy, Managing Director at APT SKIDATA, “We are thrilled to be working with Sunderland A.F.C. as the club’s new Access Control Partner. The SAFC’s Executive Team undertook a robust and thorough process that fully explored the future landscape of ticketing and access control. Adding the Stadium of Light to our ever-expanding portfolio is a privilege for our organization and we are proud to be working with a club that puts the supporter experience at the heart of its operations. We are excited to be supporting the club in achieving their digital innovation and sustainability goals.”

The Sunderland A.F.C. will be working closely with APT SKIDATA in the off season to produce comprehensive fan communications around how to download and use NFC passes for entry to the Stadium of Light for both general and hospitality access.

The 2023-2024 campaign seasons will see the change come into effect following the highly anticipated Summer of music that will see global superstars American singer-songwriters Beyoncé and P!nk perform live on the Wearside (a built-up area in County Durham and Tyne and Wear (UK).

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