• Imran Ali, Director |
  • Martin Low, Senior Manager |
5 min read

The UK Football Premier League brings in over £5 billion in revenue per year. It has a global market, with fans across the world watching games and purchasing merchandise. Millions of payments are made each year, instore, in stadiums, online in the UK and from overseas. The average attendance at a Premier League game alone is over 40,000 fans. This is a unique opportunity for clubs to introduce greater payment innovation which not only improves the transaction experience for fans but also tells the clubs much more about what their fans like and where more revenue could be made. 

Digital Tickets

The connection between a fan and their club is often first translated into a transaction when a match ticket is bought. Throughout a season, turnstiles will let thousands of fans in, with millions of tickets sold over the course of a campaign.  

The modernisation of stadiums has resulted in a move away from traditional methods of ticketing, with paper tickets becoming redundant and digital tickets becoming the norm. In the same way cash saw a drop off in use during the COVID-19 pandemic, paper ticketing has seen a similar decline. Digital wallets and QR codes are becoming used frequently and more clubs are moving to a digital only solution for entry. Clubs state that digital tickets are supporting the battle against ticket touting but, as with cash, it could make it harder for some supporters to attend, especially those without smartphones.

While season tickets will be purchased in advance, there will be thousands of tickets purchased on each match day. Maximising the margin on these transactions could be achieved by offering account to account payments rather than card transactions. This could also open the door in gathering more information about the fan and potential opportunity to sell them merchandise.

Save now, buy later

Increasingly, clubs have developed flexibility in helping more fans buy tickets with the option to spread the cost over several payments. As fans struggle against the cost-of-living crisis to continue to support their team in person, a flexible payment option drives greater loyalty from fans and facilitates continued ticketing revenue.

A club branded digital wallet could be used by fans to save funds for next year’s season ticket. This savings type solution gives the club greater liquidity as well as increased assurance the fan will be buying another season ticket the following year, despite team performance. A savings option in the digital wallet could enable the club to track the value of monies saved and automatically purchase the season ticket when value hits the right price – effectively saving now, paying later, or it could help supporters save to purchase the following years season ticket or future match tickets by adding in a ‘rounding up’ feature that allows for funds to be stored away until required.

Data analytics

Using the data analytics arising from digital tickets and QR codes brings benefits when combined with payments. In a recent Insight article (Driving innovation with cloud adoption & transformation – KPMG UK), we touched on how the use of data analytics is supporting challenger banks and fintechs to compete, and the same logic can be applied to payments at football clubs. A supporter has multiple interactions with their club on match day, providing a plethora of data about that fan.

On walking through a turnstile, a QR code is scanned to gain entry before making way to the concourse. Food and drink options will be available for fans, or the ability to purchase a matchday programme. Refreshments will usually be available until the second half, before fans make their exit from the ground at full time. Depending on the ground and its surrounding facilities some may stay to celebrate, or commiserate, with fellow supporters before making the journey home.

Just in these interactions, there are opportunities for clubs to gain information. Which products particular fans are interested in, what time they shop, when they are arriving at the ground, who prefers what kind of drink at halftime? Understanding the answers to these questions, and overlaying demographics of supporters allows the club to define product strategies.

This can be expanded further to offer travel options to supporters, with the same code being an option for entering official car parks or allowing the purchase of train tickets through the club. All of this information then helps with operational planning, such as determining when staff and services need to be available, improving cost efficiencies.


Club shops offer a chance to fans to purchase souvenirs and goods ranging from a mug or scarf to replica kits. Fans will travel from around the globe to spend their money and make the most of their time at the ground. Cards will be the payment method of choice for the customer and for the club shop due to speed, ease, and ubiquity. Since the pandemic many of these shops no longer accept cash. Those who hold season tickets, or a form of membership, may also be entitled to receive a discount, with it being supplied via their supporter number – often in the shape of a different QR code.

Account to account payments could increase the margin and provide greater data on the purchase made to the club. In addition, loyalty points could be assigned for purchases, incentivising fans to spend more and rewarding them for staying true to their club. 

Building a closed loop ecosystem

With billions in revenue, and millions of loyal fans across the world who want to engage more and more with their club, the Premier League represents an opportunity to create a closed loop ecosystem that reduces the cost of payments and maximises revenue for clubs. Club branded digital wallets could facilitate club branded card payments or account to account transactions. Data insights gained from purchases and fan interactions on match days could unlock product strategies for clubs and open new revenue streams.  

Taking control of payments

Opportunities to benefit from new products in payments are creating possibilities for businesses who would previously leave all payments activity to their banks or payment providers. The enhancement of data in payment messages and connecting commercial offerings together, along with the unique relationships between clubs and fans, could drive improvements across interactions and allow all to benefit.

KPMG’s Payments Consulting Team are industry leaders, working with its clients on understanding what payment options exist, how to best maximise return, and how to implement them efficiently. Combining this with KPMG’s unrivalled experience across different sectors, including in sports and Retail, allow us to offer a comprehensive delivery to help clients benefit. Please reach out if you’d like to discuss further.

Premier League generated £5.5bn in 2021-22 – more than La Liga and Bundesliga combined - The Athletic