Edgbaston cricket ground (cap. 25,000) used a new multipurpose event app at England’s second Test Match against New Zealand that helped event organisers maintain a Covid-safe event environment by enabling fans to monitor and avoid congestion points.

Warwickshire County Cricket Club’s (CCC) app, supplied by Realife Tech, was used for all five of the 18,000-capacity Test Match days at the Birmingham ground – the highest attended cricket fixture in the UK since the 2019 Ashes series.

The Edgbaston Test Match had no social distancing in the stands but fans were asked to wear a mask while walking around, while some 300 hand sanitizers were placed around the stadium.

Fans at the Government pilot events at Edgbaston were made to present proof of a negative lateral flow Covid test on entrance, followed by a free home PCR test after the match.

Warwickshire CCC chief operating officer Craig Flindall said the app was originally planned pre-Covid-19 for a 2020 rollout: “It did give us a bit more time to work with Realife Tech and our technology partner PTI to get it refined and optimised for the return of fans in 2021.

“I think that’s been helpful for us because we were already on that digitalisation journey compared to some of the other venues and we had already made that decision.”

Flindall said one of the main reasons for the app being introduced was to use mobile ticketing: “We did have some trepidation going into it because we had several protocols to work through due to it being a pilot event.

“Introducing tech into that was an additional headache but we wanted to do it as we thought this is the way the sector has been going for quite a long while and it generally went very well [during the Test Match].”

The app offers a click-and-collect food and drink ordering function, which Warwickshire CCC said was used 1,500 times on the second day.

The app also uses push notifications and artificial intelligence (AI) software from WaitTime. Using AI monitored cameras around the ground the app shows users the size of queues via red and green bars.

The club said the app has been downloaded around 40,000 times to date, with 90% of ticket buyers having entered the ground via e-tickets on the app.

Flindall added, “The challenge for us is using this opportunity we’ve got by collecting all this data because everyone has had to download the app to come into the ground, so we’ve got a lot more data.

“We’re also getting a lot more engagement via the app during matchdays. The challenge for us is to engage with that new digital customer base on non-matchdays and find ways to keep the user experience high on matchdays.”