Liverpool FC creates a seamless online ticketing experience


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Learn how Liverpool FC creates a seamless online ticketing experience by building a fast, reliable platform with help from IBM and IRIS Ticketing. For more information on IBM Power Systems, visit

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Liverpool FC creates a seamless online ticketing experience

  1. 1. IBM Systems and Technology Media and EntertainmentCase Study Liverpool FC creates a seamless online ticketing experience Building a fast, reliable platform with help from IBM and IRIS Ticketing Liverpool Football Club is one of the most famous, successful and storied clubs in world football. Founded in 1892, the club has won 18 Overview League titles, seven FA Cups and eight League Cups; it has also won The need the European Cup five times, and the UEFA Cup and UEFA Super Liverpool FC aims to provide the best Cup three times each. Liverpool FC employs around 500 staff. possible footballing experience for its supporters, and recognised that online ticket sales were a key part of its Liverpool prides itself on maintaining an extremely close relationship interaction with its fans. The club decided with its supporters, and is constantly developing its services to improve to review its ticketing platform and create the match day experience. To this end, the club has an established a roadmap for future development. customer experience department, which is responsible for monitoring The solution and enhancing all off-the-field interactions with supporters: retail, From more than 20 vendors, the club catering, hospitality, museum and stadium tours, the website, and selected IRIS Ticketing, its incumbent supplier, to deliver a programme of ticketing. enhancements for the TALENT Sport ticketing system. IRIS Ticketing focused Ticketing: a key factor in customer experience on transforming the fans’ experience with a new queuing system, and improved Ticketing is one of the most important aspects of the overall customer performance by moving the software onto experience. Supporters need to feel that the ticket purchasing process is a new IBM® Power® 720 server. secure, reliable and fair, and to meet these expectations, the club needs The benefit a system that is capable of selling large numbers of tickets in a relatively Increased capacity by 250 percent; short period of time. the system can now support over 750 concurrent users. Handled 100,000 ticket “We release match tickets in two main tranches,” explains Phil Dutton, sales within four days without a single moment of downtime. Queuing system Head of Ticketing and Hospitality at Liverpool FC. “In July we gives supporters a better understanding release the tickets for the matches in the first half of the season, and in of the ticketing process, improving November, we do the same for the second half. Demand is very high, customer service and fostering loyalty. and we have a few days of intense activity following each release, as tens of thousands of supporters log on to our website to purchase their tickets.” Taking the opportunity to improve Until earlier this year, the ticketing site lacked a queuing capability – which meant that supporters simply had to keep refreshing the webpage until the system allowed them to log on. The system had
  2. 2. IBM Systems and Technology Media and EntertainmentCase Study enough capacity to support around 300 concurrent users, but with thousands of fans trying to access the site, this could still mean a long Solution Components and unpredictable wait. Although some users were able to log in almost Hardware immediately, others had to keep trying for several minutes, which made • IBM® Power® 720 the process seem unfair and detracted from the overall user experience. Software • IBM i “We conduct reviews of all our IT systems on a regular basis, and since • IBM DB2® for i we had been using our existing ticketing system for six years, we felt IBM Business Partner it was time to consider all our options,” comments Phil Dutton. “We • IRIS Ticketing drew up a detailed list of all the features we wanted from a ticketing system – including both immediate needs like the queuing system and longer-term objectives. We then sent an invitation to tender to all the major ticketing software vendors, not just in the sports sector but also for airlines and tourist attractions. We wanted to see how far the ticketing industry had moved forward, and really explore what the possibilities were.” Finding the best solution Liverpool FC received proposals from over 20 vendors. Following presentations and site visits from each of the vendors, the club decided to stay with its incumbent vendor – IRIS Ticketing. “This was an important and detailed process for us and TALENT Sport from IRIS Ticketing was still the best solution for our needs,” says Phil Dutton. “It offered all the features we were looking for in the short term, and IRIS had a solid roadmap for longer term development.” The implementation itself was straightforward; it simply involved an upgrade of the existing software and the replacement of one of the old servers with a newer, more capable model. Harnessing a new generation of hardware “TALENT Sport runs on the IBM Power Systems™ platform and harnesses the IBM DB2 database that is built into the IBM i operating system,” explains Alison Dalrymple, Product Director at IRIS Ticketing. “This is a highly robust platform, which makes it a key factor in the solution’s ability to manage very high volumes of ticket sales without any problems or downtime. The elder of Liverpool’s two existing Power Systems servers had run without any significant issues for several years, but to gain some headroom for future requirements, we recommended replacing it with a new model with latest-generation technology.” The IRIS Ticketing team helped Liverpool FC install a new IBM Power 720 server with a single six-core IBM POWER7® processor and 32 GB of memory. The old production machine, a Power 525, is now used as a standby server, while the previous standby, an IBM Power Systems 810, has been retired.
  3. 3. IBM Systems and Technology Media and EntertainmentCase Study The Power 720 and the 525 are both running IBM i 7.1, and use iTERA software for high availability management, disk storage “By working with IRIS replication, and rapid failover in case of a problem with the production Ticketing and IBM, server. we plan to continually “The upgrade has at least doubled our capacity on the TALENT Sport enhance our ticketing system, and may even have tripled it,” says Phil Dutton. “We haven’t processes to improve really pushed it to its limits yet, so we’re not sure how high the ceiling the experience for our is – but we know we can support 750 concurrent users now, whereas the previous maximum was around 300. This makes a significant difference supporters and staff alike; to the speed with which fans can purchase their tickets, which cuts and with the versatility of waiting times and helps improve overall customer satisfaction.” TALENT Sport and the power of the IBM Power First-come, first-served The other immediate advantage for Liverpool FC has come from servers, we are confident the new queuing system that IRIS Ticketing has developed within that we can achieve our TALENT Sport. Now, when a user attempts to access the ticketing goals.” portal, they are placed in a queue and kept informed about how many people are in front of them, and what the probable waiting time will be. This has eliminated the unpredictability of the purchasing process, and — Phil Dutton, Head of Ticketing and Hospitality at Liverpool FC gives supporters confidence that the club is allocating the tickets fairly. “Last July we sold about 80,000 tickets online in four days, and it was a busy time for everyone concerned,” says Phil Dutton. “This year we sold 100,000 in the same period and everything went much more smoothly. The queuing system worked perfectly and the supporters were much more satisfied with the first-come, first-served approach.” Integration for an end-to-end solution The TALENT Sport solution is integrated with Liverpool’s accounting and CRM systems, and also with the Fortress access control system. The club’s members and season ticket-holders are issued with smart cards, and paper tickets for individual matches are printed with barcodes, so that supporters can simply scan their ticket to gain entry to the stadium. “TALENT Sport supports online, telephone and traditional ticket- office sales channels, but online ticketing is more cost-effective for us and more convenient for the vast majority of our supporters,” comments Phil Dutton. “We currently sell approximately 85 percent of our tickets online, and we’d like to get as close to 100 percent as possible in the future. By working with IRIS Ticketing and IBM, we plan to continually enhance our ticketing processes to improve the experience for our supporters and staff alike; and with the versatility of TALENT Sport and the power of the IBM Power servers, we are confident that we can achieve our goals.”
  4. 4. About IRIS TicketingIRIS Ticketing is a leading specialist in ticketing solutions for clients inthe sports, arts and events sectors. It offers a portfolio of solutions andintegrated services that range from cost-effective online box offices tofully integrated stadium management systems – all supported by provenand versatile technology.To learn more about products, services and solutions from IRISTicketing, visit: more informationTo learn more about IBM Power servers, contact your IBM salesrepresentative or visit:© Copyright IBM Corporation 2012IBM United Kingdom LimitedPO Box 41North HarbourPortsmouthHampshirePO6 3AUProduced in the United KingdomOctober 2012IBM, the IBM logo,, DB2, Power, Power Systems and POWER7 aretrademarks of International Business Machines Corporation, registered in manyjurisdictions worldwide. A current list of other IBM trademarks is available on theWeb at “Copyright and trademark information” at: Sport is a product of IRIS Ticketing. IBM and IRIS Ticketing are separatecompanies and each is responsible for its own products. Neither IBM nor IRISTicketing makes any warranties, express or implied, concerning the other’s products.References in this publication to IBM products, programs or services do not implythat IBM intends to make these available in all countries in which IBM operates. Anyreference to an IBM product, program or service is not intended to imply that onlyIBM’s product, program or service may be used. Any functionally equivalent product,program or service may be used instead.All customer examples cited represent how some customers have used IBM productsand the results they may have achieved. Actual environmental costs and performancecharacteristics will vary depending on individual customer configurations andconditions.IBM hardware products are manufactured from new parts, or new and used parts.In some cases, the hardware product may not be new and may have been previouslyinstalled. Regardless, IBM warranty terms apply.This publication is for general guidance only.Photographs may show design models. Please Recycle POC03112-GBEN-00