Football-focused full service provider NewC has said it aims to make Campeonato Brasileiro Série A club Palmeiras a standard-bearer for digital technology in South America, with the two parties currently working on means to safely return fans to Allianz Parque in São Paulo.

Danish company NewC, which incorporates Roboticket, signed a three-year deal with Palmeiras at the end of 2019, marking its first major contract outside of Europe.

Explaining the main goals of the partnership, NewC director Mikkel Skou told TheTicketingBusiness.com: “We’re delivering a ticketing and membership solution for S.E. Palmeiras. The overall goal is for the club to be the leading, digital club in South America.

“We’ll achieve that together by executing the club’s digital strategy. This means improving the fan and sponsor experience considerably – and by using data more intelligently to improve the bottom line.”

Moacyr Gottardi, marketing director at Palmeiras, added: “S.E. Palmeiras is always seeking to improve the fan experience, and we knew that our ticketing and membership program software was outdated.

“In 2018 we ran an RFP to choose a new partnership that fits all the necessities the club has. The winner of this competition was the Danish company, NewC. It has been a very good experience to work with them because I think this is the first time that a club in Brazil has developed software specifically for their needs.

“The synergy between our team and them has been fantastic. Now we are working on a new app with them to further improve the fan experience.”

NewC and Palmeiras, who first met at The Ticketing Business Forum two years ago, entered into their partnership just months before COVID-19 arrived to upend the world of sport. In Brazil, one of the hardest-hit nations by the pandemic, the 2020 Série A season had been due to commence on May 3, only to be delayed.

The new campaign eventually started on August 8, albeit behind closed doors, and Skou admits that COVID-19 has very much swayed the thinking behind the work carried out to date. He said: “It’s been a very positive cooperation so far, although COVID-19 has influenced the progress in the last four-five months.

“We are done with integrations towards the internal system at the club, and the ticketing and membership solutions are up and running. Now we just need fans to be allowed back into the stadium again so that the club can really begin harvesting the benefits.

“Recently, we’ve also been asked by S.E. Palmeiras to develop a state-of-the-art app with the ticketing and membership systems fully integrated. This will establish the club as the digital frontrunner in the region. We’re working hard together with the club to finish the app development in the near future.”

COVID-19 | 'Forced Gap' Solution for Football Club | NewC Demo With Subtitles (ENG)

While the 43,700-capacity Allianz Parque is currently not allowed to welcome Palmeiras fans, Gottardi states the club is in talks with NewC over ways in which this will be made possible.

He said: “We expect a huge challenge when the fans come back to Allianz Parque because we don’t know what will be the protocols for the games with (fan) attendance, but I think the Roboticket/NewC solution will help us a lot in this difficult time.”

NewC has implemented a solution to help in this regard, as Skou explained: “We all know that COVID-19 is a huge challenge for all clubs, including S.E. Palmeiras. That’s why we’ve implemented a unique social distance functionality in our ticketing system that’s also available for S.E. Palmeiras. We call it ‘Forced gap’.

“It uses algorithms to implement the specific COVID-19 rules of the league in question – and at the same time maximise the number of spectators. In other words, ‘Forced gap’ makes it a lot easier for clubs to obey all safety regulations and, securely, bring back as many fans in the stadium as possible.

“We are experiencing a lot of interest at the moment from clubs in different countries regarding this new functionality.”

The Palmeiras deal marks a new frontier for NewC and Skou states the Copenhagen-based company is keen on exploring other opportunities that may be presented as a result of its work at Allianz Parque.

He added: “South America is definitely an interesting market for us, and we’re very excited about the cooperation with S.E. Palmeiras. It will be a one-to-follow project that sets a new precedence for the digital capabilities of a football club in the region.

“We’ve have had inquiries from other clubs in South America, but our focus is on S.E. Palmeiras right now.”