Sunderland AFC adds APT SKIDATA as new partner for access control

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English Championship club Sunderland AFC has appointed APT SKIDATA as its new partner for access control at the Stadium of Light. 

The new five-year partnership will see the people access solutions provider upgrade and install the latest access control technology at the 48,707-capacity stadium, with completion predicted ahead of the 2023-24 season.

Fans will benefit from using Near Field Communication (NFC) ticketing thanks to SKIDATA’s Sweb eTicket service. This will offer matchday fans and event visitors speedy and secure access to the stadium, while also helping to reduce the club’s carbon footprint and support sustainability goals.

The NFC eTicket solution will enable fans to buy match tickets on the club’s dedicated digital ticketing website. The NFC passes are then delivered to Apple Wallet or Google Wallet, meaning fans can tap the new Flex.Gate readers to gain stadium access via the turnstiles.

Hospitality and VIP guest experience areas are also being upgraded with the deployment of the Door.Gate Pedestal reader.

Steve Davison, chief operating officer at Sunderland, said: “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 continued to showcase their innovation and reliability – and their best-in-class adaptable hardware will ensure SAFC remains at the forefront of fan experience and stadium access for many years to come.”

Steve Murphy, managing director at APT SKIDATA, added: “We are thrilled to be working with Sunderland AFC as the club’s new access control partner. 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 organisation 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.”

Throughout the off-season, Sunderland and APT SKIDATA will work together to produce comprehensive fan communications on how to download and use NFC passes at the Stadium of Light.

The stadium is also set to host international artists Beyoncé and P!nk this summer.