The cinch Championships, Queen’s Club is one of the longest-running tennis tournaments on the ATP World Tour. The event is wholly owned and operated by the Lawn Tennis Association (the LTA), the governing body of tennis in Great Britain. Each year it attracts some of the best men’s players in the world and is watched live by 70,000 tennis fans at The Queen’s Club in London.
Once in a generation opportunity to look forward
In 2019, several of the LTA’s relationships with ticketing suppliers came to a contractual end and Alex Ross, Head of Ticketing & Hospitality at the LTA, saw it as a once in a generation opportunity to align and look forward. “In the past, we had a very traditional approach to ticketing, completely outsourcing it,” he said. “We wanted to move away from that model, take more control of ticketing ourselves and provide a B2C relationship with all of our event customers, which has never happened before. We were looking for a very different type of system, a platform that could deliver us enough of our own control but could also work with our other partners such as The Ticket Factory. We also needed a platform that we could bolt onto the external services we use. SECUTIX and its secure mobile ticketing solution, TIXNGO, suited all our needs.”
The LTA’s ambition is to be 100% digital across all their events. The original plan was to start the journey towards this in 2022, but then Covid hit, and everything changed.
Moving to a mobile-first model during Covid
The cinch Championships went ahead in 2021, but at a reduced capacity of 25%.
“The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport also cited mandatory digital ticketing in some form, so we wanted to do this to the best possible level we could, not just send print at home tickets to everyone.”
Changing over to a customer centric, mobile-first model in such a short period of time came with its own challenges. “From a ticketing standpoint, Queen’s is a complex event: working with the venue, our partners, the historic nature of the tournament, all made it more challenging for a fast switch to a digital ticketing application. The TIXNGO team were helpful in taking us on this digital journey. The fact TIXNGO is fully white labelled was critical to the success of the move, allowing the LTA and the cinch Championships to be front and centre.”
TIXNGO created an LTA branded app, called LTA Tix, with branded cinch Championships digital tickets injected into its secure mobile wallet. There were initial concerns about the response from the tournament’s audience, which skews towards an older, demographic, but those fears were soon allayed when the Championships sold out very quickly. Audience feedback was positive and the delivery method worked. 98% of tickets were delivered digitally including tickets to Queen’s Club members and the tournament’s sponsors. There were no challenges on entry and a good process was up and running in a remarkably short period of time.
The future: a digitised customer journey
Ross recognises that the LTA is very much at the infancy stages of its digital transformation. In 2021, mobile ticketing happened out of necessity. In 2022, it will become part of the governing body’s wider digital ecosystem and play a key role in a modernised customer journey.
“Digitising the journey helps to make the sport more attractive to younger audiences and that was one of the key reasons to switch to mobile ticketing,” says Ross. “We haven't had a single customer view across tennis before. Using TIXNGO at our events will give us a great opportunity to fully understand the client base so we can look at targeting our products better, particularly in terms of finding new audiences and growing support for tennis. Understanding the marketplace is vital for us.”
Next year, all LTA tournaments will use the TIXNGO and SECUTIX solutions. Thanks to the open nature of these platforms, they will be fully integrated with the LTA internal sales systems and their third-party health and safety system. TIXNGO will also help the LTA reduce the risks posed by the secondary ticketing market.
“The sudden move to mobile ticketing was a big challenge, but the TIXNGO team got us up to speed quickly,” Ross concludes. “We’re excited about moving forward and to realise the potential functional benefits of the platform. We feel we have a genuine partnership with TIXNGO and SECUTIX that will see us achieve our digital ambitions.”