Five big European football organisations have joined the Football Innovation Platform, whose goal is to provide solutions to the great challenges the industry faces in the new century. Especially the ones related to more sustainable sports event celebrations. The Royal Dutch Football Association, KNVB, UEFA and City Football Group, agent of Manchester FC, New York City FC, Girona FC B or Mumbay City Fc among others, Ajax Amsterdam and Johan Cruyff Arena. The arena is their test field, and now they have just announced the first successfully tested star-up proposals and which will be developed.
This is exactly how this platform works: doing a pre-selection of the solutions proposed by start-ups, and testing them during live games in the arena. If they are effective, they have access to the European football business ecosystem so they can develop, and they are allowed to receive stimulus funds from the EU and count on business angels.
Their test field, Johan Cruyff Arena, is especially interesting due to its difficulty to be improved, since it is one of the most sustainable in the world. It counts on a super battery able to store 3MW fed by 4200 solar panels on its cover, and a wind turbine which aids them. This system meets peak demands and the demands of daily work and the charging stations for electric cars in its parking lot for fans.
The other great contribution of the arena is the advances in circular economy applied to its waste management. It has innovative solutions such as cut grass, which is transported to a nearby farm to feed goats that produce cheese used in the products sold in the food courts. But Ajax responsibles have manifested that there is plenty to improve, since 60% of the 286000 kilos of waste generated annually are still not reusable waste.
How can all this be improved? For now, with seven solutions that have already passed the test among the twenty-four participating. Four are directed to green mobility and the other three to circular recycling. All of them are relevant examples of the path to follow in football and in any sport depending on huge premises for the celebration of live games.
RideBee is a carsharing app, but with a peculiar origin. It was created for health workers to be able to go to their working centres in safe vehicles during the pandemic. Here, the owners of a vehicle register to find users who share their route, compromise to follow some sanitization routines for their vehicles, plus to provide a permanent supply of FPP2 masks for themselves and their passengers. The most interesting part for the Johan Cruyff Arena is that it allows the fan to permanently join a car and a route, so when they go to a sports event, they always have their booked seat available with no more searches.
Slinger and Pippel join the previous car sharing proposal. The first allows an organised group of people who share a car to announce if they have free seats on social networks linking this announcement to the event celebrated in the arena. In this way, it is easier for interested people to find the offer. The aim of the second one, Pippel, is to create routes with stops on the way where each user is picked up, so each fan can choose among several vehicles. So far, this app has worked as a moving method for training sessions for members of amateur football teams.
Waste circular economy: CSU, The Waste Transformer, and KRNWTR+.
The company that sponsors Ajax and is in charge of cleaning the arena adds to its work an awareness-raising campaign. It is directed to visitors. The CSU program is directed to visitors and it informs, at the moment of purchasing products, if they can be reused outside the premises. Apart from informing about second uses, containers are designed with bioplastic or packaging with ecological cardboard which can be used as fertilizers for domestic plants.
The Waste Transformer provides containers able to perform an ‘anaerobic digestion’ inside them once organic food waste left by fans is thrown in them. Technical knowledge is not needed to handle them. Throwing the waste and waiting for the process to be completed is just enough. The result is a liquid fertiliser able to replace artificial ones which can be used in the arena grass.
And finally, KRNWTR+ a company focused on eliminating one of the most common problems generated today by beverage consumption: plastic bottles used for water. Its system, connected to a running water supply in the arena (similar to beer taps), filters, refrigerates and even adds sparkles to running water creating a product with the same qualities and characteristics as the bottled one. In this way a product is sold to clients while eliminating the waste, since they can refill their own bottles or use sustainable and recyclable containers.
All the examples mentioned have been solutions that proved to be effective in a test in a live game. This platform is not the only case. In many places in the world, teams, leagues and sports organisations are turning into accelerators of scientific innovation and technology thanks to these drives. One of the least known faces of sport, and, at the same time, one that will be a source of much talk this decade.
CATEGORY: MARKETING, COMMUNICATION AND MANAGEMENT
This model looks to the future with the requirements and demands of a new era of stadiums, directed toward improving and fulfilling the experiences of fans and spectators, remembering “feeling” and “passion” when designing their business model.
Through the use of computer vision we can identify some shortcomings in the body orientation of players in different game situations.
In the words of Johan Cruyff, “Players, in reality, have the ball for 3 minutes, on average. So, the most important thing is: what do you do during those 87 minutes when you do not have the ball? That is what determines whether you’re a good player or not.”
Muscle injuries account for more than 30% of all injuries in sports like soccer. Their significance is therefore enormous in terms of training sessions and lost game time.
DO YOU WANT TO KNOW MORE?
KEEP UP TO DATE WITH OUR NEWS
Do you have any questions about Barça Universitas?
- Research Center