Stadia have had to remain closed for most of the pandemic, affecting their revenues and ability to welcome fans live. It’s critical to the recovery of live sport in 2021 that fans are encouraged back to stadia; integrating the latest technology will improve fan experience, enable crowd safety, and provide a competitive advantage for stadia that do it well.

Sophia Gardens Cardiff, home of Glamorgan County Cricket Club are undergoing an innovative digital transformation project with SA Group and we caught up with Huw Warren, Head of Commercial at GCCC about how the project is going.


What’s the benefit of a Stadium becoming Smart?

We’ve already seen a host of benefits from the first stage of upgrades; not just for the fans and their match day experience, but for all the employees, and also the wider community. We’re using technology to interact with supporters in ways we never thought possible. They are better connected than ever before as digital technologies and data are seamlessly woven into their experience on the day: before, during and after their visit to Sophia Gardens.

Spectators, fans, and competitors alike will be sharing videos, statistics, and preferences, along with their emotions through their mobile devices on social media. Maximising the use of online platforms to share best practice, to innovate and facilitate networking.

Undergoing this transformation means we are creating a collaborative space – an inclusive environment where everyone has the opportunity to contribute. We can host workshops and focus groups to obtain feedback from our fans, and also to identify and solve smart city challenges.

This is extremely important as people are at the forefront of everything that we do. As we transform into a smart stadium it’s imperative to continually engage with our fans, businesses, universities, and the wider community to ensure that we are creating a stadium which meets their needs and expectations.

How has data played a part in the digital transformation?

Data is central to our decision making. We have gained so much intelligence from customer data so far, and the more we know about their behaviour, the more we can use this to make data-driven decisions which will really enhance their experience.

How does digitally transforming impact crowd control and safety?

We’re fortunate to work closely with the Smart City of Cardiff and gain access to their transport and location data, including real-time insights showing the best route to the stadium by personal or public transportation, and up-to-date information on where people are gathering.

Becoming Smart allows us access to better manage day-to-day maintenance of the venue along with any incidents on the day using event management systems.

What will Sophia Gardens look like in the future?

This is an ongoing project and we continue to keep in touch with emerging digital technologies and explore better ways to engage with our fans, the local community and the smart initiatives of Cardiff City and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).

We look forward to seeing what the future holds in the digital space, and continuing to work towards our ultimate goal of Smart Stadium status in the future.

Click here to read the full Case Study for this Digital Transformation Project.