Arsenal FC is one of Europe’s biggest and most succesful football clubs — with fans around the world.
More than 39 million people follow the club on Facebook and Twitter, almost all of which are from outside the UK.
Business Insider sat down with Hywel Sloman, the club’s IT director, to talk about technology, revenue, and social media.
Sloman, who has been at the club for over four years, spoke extensively about the IT solutions that his team — which he described as “not very big” — put into place in order for the fans to have the best experience.
According to Sloman, the two most important pieces of technology for Arsenal are these:
The turnstiles. Without these, none of the 60,000 attendees would be able to get in. Sloman said these are what “keeps me up at night.” There has never been a failure with the technology, but this is the main area of concern before, during, and after a match.
Arséne Wenger’s iPad. The manager of Arsenal has an iPad and uses it to track various statistics about his players and the game. “One of the things that I hope to make clear is that everything we do is to help the club win football games,” said Sloman. “Arsene’s iPad could well impact our ability to win football.”
There is plenty of other technology, according to Sloman, but these two areas stood out as the big pinch-points for things that could go wrong during a game.
Of course, football has moved online for many people — Arsenal’s social media presence is a key vehicle for reaching fans, according to Sloman — and things like the turnstile becomes less important but if the iPad, which is handed to Wenger by Sloman himself, were to fail there could be serious problems.