How our wearable technology is improving the fan experience at Saracens Rugby Club

Last updated: 07 November 2019

On Sunday, we were at Saracens Rugby Club for their last home game of the Aviva Premiership season, where they were narrowly beaten by Exeter. The crowd roared throughout, and as Saracens were pushing for a last minute try, the tension was intense.

We were there trialling the new Gemalto smart wristbands, which allows fans to purchase food and drink within the stadium. We spoke to a number of them who loved the experience of using the band – especially the ease of use, and the fact it does away with the bother of fiddling about with cash.

How many times have you been at an event and thought you’d like something to eat or drink, but were put off by the queues. As someone who’s been to many sporting events over the years, it was great to see just how much faster it was than using cash or chip-and-pin cards.

As Saracens fans were served quicker, they had a more positive purchasing experience which will only encourage future sales. So while fans enjoy the speed and convenience, the club will be able to sell more, boosting its bottom line. Check out the video below to hear more about how fans found the experience.

We were also joined on the day by two bloggers: Fabio Virgi from Let’s Talk Tech, and Tomi Adebayo from GadgetsBoy.

Fabio thought that, “Thanks to their ease of use I think Gemalto’s contactless wristbands have a ton of potential, especially in live entertainment venues like stadiums and music festivals.

“Having used one today myself, wristbands feels like a safer, less conspicuous way of carrying around and spending money, and best of all it allows the clubs fans to show their support thanks to the custom branding.”

Another added benefit is the extra control the wearer has. Fabio added that, “Parents also benefit because rather than handing out cash to kids, these wristbands make it easy to give their children £10-£20 spending money in a fairly safe way, as its less likely to get lost than cash.”


Tomi too seemed happy. He said, “Using the wristband was a seamless experience. I can imagine, just like any other sports day like Saracens vs. Exeter, it would reduce queues and allow fans to purchase their food and drinks quicker. It would also allow them to better manage their expenses on a match day, as you can preload it with just how much you want to spend.  It is secure with limits to how much you can use and it’s ultimately comfortable to wear.”

The versatility of the wristband also impressed him. “It’s not limited to just sporting events and can be used at any contactless payment outlet, even the London underground.  Since we don’t have Apple Pay in the UK yet, it’s great to see someone taking the initiative to make it happen in other ways.”

Currently prototypes, Saracens plans to roll out the finished wristbands to all season ticket holders in time for the start of next season. There are big plans for its scope too, extending its functionality to include entry to the ground, linking them to the club shop, and even creating targeted offers for fans dependent on where they sit in the stadium.

Judging from today’s reception, they are a sure-fire hit, putting another great marker in the ground for wearable payments.

We’d like to thank Fabio and Tomi for coming down, and to all the Saracens fans we spoke to at the match.

If you’re a Saracens fan, or are interested in learning more, head down to the dedicated site:

No doubt, we’ll be back at Allianz Park in September to cover the full launch.