Let the games begin - Covid forces digital transformation

Anne O'Grady

Reporter:

Anne O'Grady

Let the games begin

Joe Bracken, Tom Maher, Michael Berkery FBD Insurance, John Devane, Tim Floyd, Joe Kennedy and Michael Power photographed at the FBD Insurance Tipperary County Hurling and Football Championship Launch

The Tipperary GAA Board has announced details of a new safety first, cashless ticketing arrangement for the FBD Insurance club championships  in both hurling and football, which will see supporters having to purchase tickets before entry into any game.

The Board has been catapulted into the digital era thanks to Covid-19 with no cash to be accepted at gates for this season, and a number of matches to be streamlined on digital channels in order to facilitate spectators who will not be able to get to the stand-out games.

All club matches will be pre-sold ticket only, starting from the football championships which kick off next weekend of July 17 and the hurling the weekend after.

The details of a very different campaign were announced at the launch of the FBD Insurance championships in Semple Stadium this week and those in attendance were told that participating clubs and season ticket holders will be given priority access to tickets with any unsold tickets going on public sale through the Tipperary website every Thursday.

Furthermore, the Board is in discussion with a number of companies with the view to streaming two games each weekend, but no precise information is available on this right now.

Holders of Croke Park Plus Passes, Tipperary County Board Season Pass and Tipperary Concession passes will be given a 24 hour online priority purchase window in advance of each game to claim their ticket for each game. Using technology which was perfected by Future Ticketing for Champions League and ERC Rugby matches, Tipperary Season Ticket Holders will be able to use their card to claim their ticket for one game per day. To ensure full correct contact tracing information is available, the Board season ticket holders, and Concession Pass holders will be asked to register in advance for this service.

Any remaining tickets will be made available through the Tipperary GAA website and social media channels on a first come first served basis on the Thursday before matches.

On match day, tickets from either mobile phones or printouts will be scanned using high tech laser mobile scanners at each venue in order to ensure that full contact tracing information for all attendees will be available to statutory authorities should it be required. 

Announcing the new scheme, Tim Floyd, County Board Secretary said: "We are really looking forward to having championship matches back and to welcoming supporters  to all the grounds around the county. Limited capacity means we have to make difficult choices and our priority is to ensure that we create as safe an environment as possible for all our supporters and to absolutely minimise any risk factors. By removing cash, we are reducing a risk of contamination and also minimising  the dangers for volunteers on the day and in advance."

Board Chairman John Devane said that some people will be disappointed as a result of the limited capacity but said that the Board have worked tirelessly  to source the safest and most flexible system available.

“I would like to thank Ronan Burns and all at Future Ticketing for giving us the benefit of their software and also their experience which stretches from Champions League matches to the National Ploughing Championships and includes ticket sales in 140 countries."

Michael Berkery of FBD Insurance wished the Board well for the smooth running of the championships and said that the GAA had displayed great leadership during the lockdown, and a remarkable capacity to cope with the extraordinary circumstances which faced each and every community in Tipperary. FBD Insurance is delighted to be associated with such an organisation, he said.

This is the second year of the FBD Insurance sponsorship initiative.