Creating history with FC Isle of Man

by | Sep 7, 2020

Photo: Vannin Photos

Newly formed fan-owned FC Isle of Man’s first ever football match sold out and reached an additional global audience, with TicketCo.

The historic friendly against Guernsey FC at the Bowl in Douglas marked a major milestone for the fledgling club who will compete in the North West Counties League Division One this season.

The fixture marked what is believed to have been the first “hybrid match” delivered via the same digital platform. TicketCo sold both physical and live streaming tickets to supporters via the same platform for the match. And the club were able to provide supporters with a HD quality live stream of the match via TicketCo TV.

It was a successful match all round, with the sell-out crowd treated to a winning start for FC Isle of Man.

Accessibility

Ty Smith, FC Isle of Man Commercial Director described the sell-out as a “massive achievement.”

“It demonstrates that the community on the island has really taken the club into their hearts,” he said. “It is important that we build on that engagement now and the accessibility that the TicketCo platform provides allows us to do that.

“We are an agile and versatile, but small team and there is no doubt that we would not physically have been able to deal with the demands of manually issuing over 2,100 tickets without other elements being negatively affected.

“Cost, both in man-hours and monetary expenditure, was massively reduced and customer orders were satisfied instantly. The analogue alternative of getting that many tickets into customers hands would have been considerably more demanding, considerably more costly and considerably less environmentally friendly.”

Live streaming

FC Isle of Man have embraced technology as part of its strategy to be an innovative, sustainable football club. By offering supporters the opportunity to watch the match via TicketCo TV’s pay-per-view live streaming service it is enabling the club to build a global audience and monetise secondary ticket sales.

“Live streaming of FC Isle of Man games has always been an integral component of our strategy,” said Ty. “When your community is spread across the globe you have to be able to bring the club to the fans so that they can genuinely feel part of the narrative, part of that community, and can experience the game in real-time regardless of whether they are in the Isle of Man, Germany, the USA, or Canada. Ultimately, we have been able to leverage the TicketCo TV app to render distance meaningless.”

User friendly

FC Isle of Man used production house Studio One to film the match and broadcast it via TicketCo TV. Justin McMullin, director of Studio One said using the system was seamless for his production team.

“From a production perspective the TicketCo platform is user friendly and we were able to RMTP our OBS streaming software seamlessly,” he said. “The setup factors in test streaming before the stream go live to the public, and this worked perfectly first time meaning that we could focus directly on the event production and not on having to spend time troubleshooting the platform.”

High quality

In addition to an easy to use platform, Studio One said the system provided a high-quality output.

“From a production perspective we want a user-friendly system but also one that ensures quality delivery at the customer end,” said Justin. “That stream carries the Studio One logo and as such the end quality reflects directly on our company.

“Ahead of the game Ty talked about the importance to the club of viewers across the world being able to watch the game in their living rooms via the Apple TV, or Fire TV App. The TicketCo TV app just makes sense, and knowing that our output is being delivered to the consumer in an easy to access way but also one that ensures the quality of the stream is maintained is vitally important and as such we can’t wait to use the system again.”

Full control

The TicketCo platform enabled FC Isle of Man to manage the release of tickets and access to the live stream.

“Part of our commercial model is to geo-block access to the stream from within the island, unless the game has reached capacity, in which case we open the game up to those that can’t physically make it to the game,” explained Ty.

“Using the inbuilt access restrictions within the platform meant that we could do this within minutes of the game selling out, then use our communication channels to publicise the live-stream to on-island customers on the morning of the game. This was effective and ultimately enabled hundreds more people, including some Guernsey FC fans that could not make the trip to enjoy the game which was brilliantly produced by our amazing production partners Studio One.”

Profitable

Maximising the opportunity of two rounds of tickets sales via a hybrid event meant FC Isle of Man were able to generate a profit from the pre-season friendly.

“We have a ‘big club’ mentality but for us to be able to offer our fans seamless access across all those different countries, so that they were able to experience that first game in real-time, really is pretty amazing when you stop to think about it,” said Ty. “The fact that we were able to do so cost-effectively and make the stream profitable at the same time is all the more impressive.”

Shorter queuing time

TicketCo’s digital mobile-first ticketing platform ensures football clubs can process queues on a match-day quicker. FC Isle of Man noticed the benefit immediately.

“The scanning of digital tickets at the gate is far more efficient and ultimately gets fans into the stadium quicker,” said Ty. “Minimising queuing time eases congestion issues in and around the ground and makes for a considerably better fan experience. I have been to many football matches in my life and have never once heard a fan comment on how much they enjoyed the queue on the way in!

“Conjoining tickets also enabled us to streamline our processes. A great example of this being that the stewards were informed, with the scan of one QR code, which of those fans had pre-bought a match programme with their match ticket. Those that had done so then had their programme issued by the steward at the point of entry, preventing further queuing inside the ground and again improving the fan experience.”

Cashless stadium

FC Isle of Man successfully introduced fully cashless technology across the stadium, providing multiple benefits to the club.

“We were delighted to reach capacity via online pre-sales ahead of the game but had prepared for ‘on the gate’ sales none the less. This was to be delivered using the TicketCo PoS integration,” said Ty.

“Whilst no ‘on the gate’ tickets were sold using the PoS, match programmes were sold in the stadium using the PoS functionality. Our independent vendors at the game offered cash purchases, but the club technically operated cashless.

“Whilst I can imagine before recent world events this may have caused some frustration from those fans that swear by carrying cash, in a post-Covid world cashless has become the norm and makes much more sense in a number of ways ranging from reducing the associated business risk involved with cash sales, increasing the speed of transactions whilst reducing queuing times, and also increasing customer convenience. Our volunteers were using the PoS system and they were proficient within minutes, it really is that easy.”

TicketCo looks forward to building our partnership with FC Isle of Man and supporting the club in its goal to build its fan base, develop sustainably, and progress through the leagues.