Interview with Fabian With, Head of Merchandising at FC St. Gallen 1879.
What is the meaning of digitalization for FC St.Gallen? How did it evolve recently (especially due to COVID-19)?
We have been pursuing a digital fan strategy for quite some time. We look at fans from a holistic perspective and try to understand their digital footprints to improve, for example, our ticketing and the sale of fan merchandise in the e-shop. We want to offer our sponsor’s tailored services based on digitally gained insights.
The COVID-19 situation has shown us once again the potential of digitalization and confirmed this digital strategy’s importance.
What potential do you see in collectID’s solution?
We see huge potential in the collectID technology. We have already demonstrated it with limited fan merchandise, such as the Zellweger legend jersey equipped with the technology from collectID.
This allows us to connect even more closely with fan groups and offer them tailor-made experiences and products such as meet and greets, competitions, limited-edition collections, autographed cards, etc.
How did the cooperation on the Zellweger legend jersey between FC St.Gallen and collectID work?
The collaboration was great. The collectID team showed a lot of commitment and initiative. Their know-how was extremely valuable to us.
How time- and resource-intensive was implementing the collectID technology for the Zellweger legend jersey?
I had almost nothing to do with the direct implementation, as we left the flocking of the collectID-NFC-chips onto the jerseys to a third party. As far as I know, this was very efficient and straightforward.
What added value does collectID offer to FC St.Gallen?
Connecting merchandise with digital content offers a significant value-added. In five years, fans will still scan the Zellweger legend jersey using the collectID app and view “Zelli’s” unique message. It would become very difficult or almost impossible to find that content years later on the Internet.
Additionally, collectID allows us to communicate directly with our fans through our merchandise products and provide them with unique content.
Last but not least, we were able to gain first experiences with blockchain technology.
What can fans expect from the partnership between FC St.Gallen and collectID in the future?
We are currently exchanging ideas on equipping game-worn jerseys with the collectID technology and, at regular intervals, offering fans the opportunity to bid for these jerseys by auction. Stay tuned!