Johan Cruijff Arena uses TIXNGO for dynamic tickets to staff members

Delivering a secure digital journey for stadium personnel

The Johan Cruijff ArenA is the largest stadium in the Netherlands. It is the home of football club AFC Ajax and is the stage for the biggest artists and dance events in Amsterdam.

In early 2021, TIXNGO partnered with the Johan Cruijff ArenA, following an introduction by the venue’s biggest customer Ajax, who had already started to use it.

Ajax came across the solution at the 2019 ‘Change The Game Challenge’. This was a joint initiative by UEFA and some of Europe’s largest clubs and federations to explore new and beneficial technologies for the football industry. 

TIXNGO has now joined the stadium’s ecosystem of solutions working together to find new ways to make events safer, more secure and sustainable.

Transforming personnel operations

Before working with TIXNGO, the 1,600 personnel working at the stadium entered by giving their name and showing their identification at the arena entrance, which was then checked against a paper list of staff.  As Sander van Stiphout, Director International at Johan Cruijff ArenA, explains, the ArenA was looking for a system with ultimate control over access:

“The journey of our employees was somewhat underestimated. But they are a very important stakeholder so we wanted to facilitate a better experience for them. We were designing a journey for fans, so why not do the same for personnel?  We also wanted to know from a security standpoint a more detailed log of who was in the stadium.”

The stadium now uses a Johan Cruijff ArenA branded smartphone wallet, powered by TIXNGO, to operate easy and dynamic ticket distribution to staff members. Olaf Zorge, ICT Engineer at Johan Cruijff ArenA, who oversees the system, explains how it works:

“We digitally send our staff tickets to enter the stadium to their mobile phone. The digital mobile ticket is connected to our access control system, providing us with data on where and when they enter which informs the number of stewards we have at different entrances. If we need to delete a ticket or get it back from somebody, we can also do that within the wallet. We are now in control of the ticket at all stages.”

During the pandemic, the app was used to send staff push notifications about the latest COVID measures, so they were aware of what they had to do before arrival on site.

Communicating in this way is also helping with staff retention. “Millennials and Gen Z want to work differently, for example being contacted through an app rather than email,” says van Stiphout. “It’s difficult to find good personnel, so improving the staff journey and flow of communication is vital to our success.”

The Johan Cruijff ArenA now has a system that is fit for purpose, gives them better access control and enhances stadium security.

Mobile tickets for debenture seats

This summer, the ambition is to have TIXNGO connected to Johan Cruijff ArenA’s ticketing system for its debenture tickets. The summer concerts could potentially mark the first time the stadium uses secure mobile blockchain ticketing for the 6,000 debenture seats.

By gathering debenture seat data, TIXNGO is helping the Johan Cruijff ArenA to improve its service even more by allowing the venue to communicate directly with debenture holders and at the same time follow all privacy guidelines.

Future stadium innovation

The Johan Cruijff ArenA is internationally recognised as a leader in innovative stadium solutions. It has taken on the role of a Living Lab where ideas and technologies grow into Smart City and Smart Stadium products and services. This pioneering spirit extends to ticketing and the TIXNGO and Johan Cruijff ArenA teams have plans to take their partnership to the next level.

“The TIXNGO team is now connected to our ecosystem, and that will help us further shape our digital strategy,” says van Stiphout. “We have a whole cloud of companies, and one of their objectives is to improve mobility, the customer journey and ticketing. We challenge them as a whole and individually to test drive their new features inside the venue, in a controlled and safe environment. It’s a live playground, albeit heavily safeguarded, but it is a place where we can learn lessons to foster innovation.”

With regards to personnel ticketing, the team is exploring opportunities to connect multiple products to the wallet, for example reserving car parking spaces through the app.  The ArenA will also explore leveraging TIXNGO to distribute tickets from event organisers and promoters using the Johan Cruijff ArenA as a venue.