The British Government has brought together an independent team of sport, health and technology experts to explore a range of high-tech solutions to speed up the potential return of fans to elite sports venues when it is safe to do so.
Chaired by David Ross, co-founder of Carphone Warehouse and Non-Executive Director of the British Olympic Association, the Sports Technology and Innovation Group met for the first time yesterday.
The return of fans is seen across Europe and the world as something of a bellwether milestone in terms of recovery, as well as being of crucial importance to sports in terms of revenue.
Representatives from the Premier League, Microsoft, Innovate Finance and the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies are among those taking part and meetings are being attended by the Deputy Chief Medical Officer as well.
The group will work closely with sports bodies and the Sport Grounds Safety Authority to explore the whole ‘fan journey’ – from home to venue – such as fans’ travelling to and from stadiums, as well as reducing crowding both inside and outside those venues.
Following test events across football, rugby union cricket, snooker and basketball, a pilot programme for the return of spectators to sporting events has now been postponed as infection numbers continue to rise.
“Due to rapidly rising transmission rates we were not able to proceed with the return of fans from the start of October, and are therefore looking at support to help sports through,” said British Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden.
<p class=”last-child”>”This group will be working through innovative ideas and technology which could help get fans back where they belong, in stadia and grounds, more quickly. This is vital work that will continue apace.”</p>
The Sports Technology and Innovation Group will report its recommendations to the Culture Secretary in due course.
In Ireland, we have a Sports Expert Group already in place. The three major sports are also collaborating under a newly formed group chaired by Martin Murphy of the Aviva Stadium to look at the specific return of fans. Hopefully, there will be a space created within that where technology companies can add their contribution.
<a href=”https://sportforbusiness.com/sports-impact-monitor-wave-3-the-return-of-fans/”><strong>Take a look at the results of our Sports impact Monitor with Onside and members of the Sport for Business community on the likely timetable for a return of fans</strong></a>