Is this high-tech rewards system the future for Australian sports fans?

Storm fans celebrate during a match against the Newcastle Knights in 2013. Photo: Scott Barbour/ Getty.

Digital saturation is moving into the sports arena.

Last month the Melbourne Storm launched its rewards system – the first loyalty program in Australia to use a smartcard to reward club members and fans for their support.

“There is no other program like this in Australian sport that integrates smartcard technology to track spending at the stadium, integrates sponsors as well as rewarding digital actions across social media and our own website,” Melbourne Storm marketing director Mike Billing said.

“We see this program as a business growth strategy for Melbourne Storm and believe it will benefit all of our business units in growing our fan base and help to make fans more and more avid.”

See more here.

The tap-and-pay tech behind the Storm membership card was designed by Melbourne-based Vix Technology, dubbed SmartSite, and has resulted in AAMI Stadium becoming the first fully digital sports stadium for spectator transactions.

Meanwhile, the NRL club can use the analytics platform to monitor the member’s data to establish a detailed demographic breakdown of a fan and their movements in and around the stadium to improve engagement and experience.

Other clubs are now looking at it, including Collingwood AFL club and Melbourne Rebels signing up for its full-scale rollout at their shared AAMI Park base next season. The Magpies have a membership base of more than 80,000.

So, is this the future of footy club membership in Australia?

Well it’s certainly not the first time Australian sport has adopted technology to enhance the fans experience.

During the International Cricket Council World Cup in Melbourne in March, SAP gave cricket fans insider access to 40 years worth of world cup data, the same used by players.

Using SAP HANA Cloud Platform and SAP Lumira software fans were able to analyse players, coaches, teams, matches, plays, and more, all using their mobile devices while sitting in the grandstand of the MCG. Read more about that here.

Even cricket great, turned commentator Adam Gilchrist says such technology and big data stops him from looking like ‘a goose’.

Now read: How wearable sensors and predictive data will revolutionise life, starting with sport.

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