Around 100,000 attendees were introduced to RFID technology at the 2014 Ryder Cup, with wristbands provided by cashless payment specialists Intellitix.
It was the first time the tournament, hosted at the Gleneagles Hotel this year, has used the technology, and it resulted in almost 45,000 interactions across the six-day event. More than 46% of visitors also pre-registered their RFID-enabled wristbands, which not only provided access control to the tournament, but also was programmed to work alongside several experiential activations at the tournament.
“Ryder Cup Europe wanted to lift the event this year beyond the standards set previously,” said Ryder Cup operations director Antonia Beggs. “As social media, smartphones and mobile internet have become a part of everyday life, RFID technology seemed a natural choice.”
Attendees could use their wristbands in various aspects of the event. For instance, they could virtually ‘high five’ their chosen team, with a message of support instantly shared on the on-course leader board and personal Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Several brands also partnered with the RFID technology, including Active Scotland’s ‘Walk the Course’ initiative, which gave out prizes to spectators who walked the course and checked in at different points. BMW let visitors request test drives of its cars, and BMW owners could use their wristbands to enter the exclusive Owner’s Café.
Gleneagles itself also joined in on the action, holding a competition to win a stay at the hotel by swiping a RFID wristband at the Gleneagles stand in the Spectator Village.
“We have had extremely positive feedback from both the audience and from sponsors, who are always looking for additional ways to amplify their sponsorship,” Beggs said. “We are certain that RFID and the interactivity that it brings will become the future of major sporting events.
“We are proud to be one of the first to offer this to our audience,” she added.
The Intellitix wristbands were also used for cashless payments in the Harris Pavilion for guests of Ryder Cup partners and in the media zone for accredited media.
“Social media integration is now important to every single professional sport,” said Intellitix CEO Serge Grimaux. “It’s important for sports to facilitate this in order to continue to grow their audiences and fan demographic, solidify the link they have with their fans, and provide the fully immersive event that people have now come to expect.”