International Stadia Group to advise RFU on Twickenham Ticketing and Hospitality Strategy
Following a tender process in 2014, ISG was appointed by the Rugby Football Union (RFU) to undertake a comprehensive review of the ticketing and hospitality strategy at Twickenham Stadium, the 82,000 seat home of English rugby. Twickenham stadium is unique in that it serves a twin purpose of both generating commercial revenues for the RFU to invest in rugby throughout England, and also as a venue for rugby club members throughout the country to enjoy affordable access to international rugby union. Twickenham also hosts many other events including club rugby matches and concerts.
Despite the success of the RFU in delivering against these twin aims, there were a number of factors which contributed to the decision to review the current arrangements and ensure that Twickenham was able to improve and meet these challenges in the decade to come. These factors included:
- The customer experience at Twickenham was below the levels to be expected of the world’s leading rugby stadium and were not consistent with the brand values being developed for England Rugby.
- A complex hospitality offering with numerous providers and sales channels that did not match supply and demand for matches and was not providing the optimal experience to customers.
- A belief that there is significant potential to improve the performance of Twickenham as a key driver of the RFU’s ability to invest in the game
The required output from ISG’s work was to provide to the RFU a recommended strategy which delivered the best return from its most valuable physical asset, Twickenham, on match days from both a revenue and a brand perspective while remaining true to the traditions and ethos of rugby union.
ISG undertook detailed surveys with over 20 different user groups at the stadium, and combined this with feedback from numerous stakeholder interviews. ISG also conducted a detailed analysis of existing behaviour, and used its understanding of how to optimise the customer journey for all consumers to develop an ideal model. This was then further developed based on ISG’s review of the legal and constitutional constraints to provide the RFU with a clear 5 pronged approach to deliver against the project’s objectives:
- A reconfiguring of the stadium pricing map to align supply and demand for different tickets, boosting revenue from the best seats and increasing accessibility for other seats
- A reclassification of the matches scheduled at the stadium to align the pricing and demand for different matches
- A capital investment programme in the stadium, optimised for return on investment, to dramatically improve the experience of every user of the stadium
- A completely modernised ticketing process to reduce complexity, boost access to tickets to club members and to transform the RFU’s ability to communicate effectively with its customers
- An overhaul of the debenture and hospitality offering to improve the experience, align supply with the market demand determined through ISG’s research and improve profitability for the RFU
Due to the complexity of the pre-existing arrangements and the wholesale nature of ISG’s recommendations, following the completion of the initial work, ISG was reappointed by the RFU to enable the implementation of the recommendations and delivery of the RFU’s objectives.
Commenting on the partnership Andrew Hampel, Chief Executive of ISG, said “We are thrilled to be involved with the RFU in this ground-breaking effort to optimise the fan experience at one of the world’s most renowned venues. This work should set a new standard for the fan experience in the world of rugby.”