Yesterday I was lucky enough to visit The Championships, Wimbledon, commonly known simply as Wimbledon. It's the oldest tennis tournament in the world and is widely regarded as the most prestigious.  It's has been held at the All England Club in Wimbledon, London, since 1877 and is played on outdoor grass courts. 

Wimbledon is one of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments.

How is this event happening in a post pandemic world?

In the past the event would have been driven from paper tickets or maybe printed lanyards, the event is used a lot by corporate companies for corporate entertainment.  This technology would not have changed much over the last few years, now the world has changed for good.

Let me walk through how the event has been transformed.

It's all about an app

The whole event is now driven through an app.  ALL ticket holders have to download the app.

Of course this gives the organisers to get onto the most valuable real estate in the world, your mobile phone screen.  It also gives organisers the chance that many people won't untick the box giving permission to get phone alerts and emails. 

According to Statista, in 2019, a total of 500,397 visitors attended the event over the duration of the tournament, an increase from the previous two years.  While visitor numbers are down, it gives you an idea of the order of number of down loads, email addresses and phones they now have access to.

The organisers are getting around ticket touts, but not allocating to you the tickets until the morning of the event AND they don't accept screen shot tickets.  You are sent a QR code on the morning of the event and it has to show a tennis ball ikon going around. 

It's worth noting that being app only, this does open up a digital divide, first you have to have a mobile phone, second you need to know how to use it.

Covid preprations

To get into the event, as well as having the mobile app and therefore your ticket you also need photo ID.  From a Covid prospective you needed to be able to provide, either a negative covid test or your vaccination certificate.  Here in the UK while that was on card, most people have transformed to the NHS app as it's easier and has become the de-facto especially if you want to travel abroad. 

You were given a wrist band.  In theory therefore, it was a Covid free event. 

Once inside, the normal masks regulations we currently have in the UK applied. 

Covid disruption

You could see for many people, having to provide a ticket on an app, a covid vaccination certificate, on an app and have a photo ID was a big change from just handing a person a paper ticket.  But everybody got on with it in good humour as they know it's what they needed to go for the greater good.

Covid has made massive changes in the way we work and the way we play, events (and conferences) know that to be able to open up they need to "step up", that said, there are also other benefits of providing additional security.

It will be interesting to see how the world develops as we start living with covid.