Emerging Tech, Data & Media , Future Stadiums & Venues

Aston Villa and Harlequins to trial Barclays’ team membership cards

UK bank working with Fortress to integrate access, loyalty and payment into one platform.

by Steven Impey

Aston Villa and Harlequins to trial Barclays’ team membership cards

Barclays, one of the UK’s largest banks, and payment engagement technology specialist Fortress are working with high-profile sports teams around the launch of a new multi-purpose membership card designed specifically for fans.

As part of the agreement, Barclays will embed payment capabilities into the team-branded membership cards with the help of mobile payments platform, Pingit. The payment functionality will be combined with digital ticketing and loyalty on one platform.

Barclays and Fortress confirmed they are in active talks with newly promoted Premier League club Aston Villa and Premiership Rugby outfit Harlequins to roll out branded membership cards for each team during the 2019/20 season. The cards can be used at each team’s respective home ground and anywhere card payments are accepted.

Adam Herson, Barclays’ business development director, said: “We’re excited to partner with Fortress to create an all-in-one membership card that will help the sports industry take fan engagement to the next level.

“We believe this will be a win-win for both teams and supporters, building a stronger connection between the two through an improved customer experience.

"By working together with two prestigious sports teams, Aston Villa and Harlequins, we will be well positioned to start a sporting revolution.”

Nicola Ibbetson, Aston Villa’s chief commercial officer, said: “The new membership card will be of great benefit to both our supporters and the team itself. It will enable us to better understand our fans whilst also being able to offer them tailored products, discounts and money-can’t-buy experiences.”

Alex Goldschmidt, Harlequins’ commercial director, added: “We’re always looking at new ways to improve our supporters’ experiences and this presents another opportunity for us to leverage the latest technology and innovations to do just that.

“Having successfully transitioned to become a cashless stadium at the start of the 2018/19 season, and also introducing mobile ticketing, we are excited to be trialling this latest technology with Fortress next season.”

Under the terms of the deal, Barclays has also made an undisclosed investment in Fortress, facilitated by Barclays Ventures, which was launched in 2018 to deliver new customer engagement methods.

Richard Pinnick, the senior vice president for global business development at Fortress, said: “For sports brands loyalty and fan engagement really matters – it is how they add life-long value to their supporter base.

“By integrating stadium services and everyday payments onto a single membership card, managed by our open loyalty platform, we can now deliver in-stadium services, experiences, and content that are hyper-relevant and crafted to build long-lasting value for the supporter and team.”

In March, Barclays announced a landmark partnership with the Football Association (FA) to become the official sponsor of The FA Women’s Super League, representing the biggest ever investment in UK women’s sport by a brand. The company is also the official banking partner to the Premier League.