As TheTicketingBusiness Forum 2023 fast approaches, we caught up with Kjell Scheunhage, product owner ticketing at AFC Ajax, the mighty Dutch football club based in Amsterdam.
Scheunhage joined the four-time European champions in 2017 as team leader ticketing and ascended into his current position in January 2022. Prior to joining Ajax, he spent more than eight years as country product manager in the Netherlands for Eventim Sports.
During his time with Ajax, Scheunhage has overseen the complete digitalisation of tickets and their integration within the official Ajax mobile app. Fans now access tickets within the same platform that hosts news, content and games.
Here, Scheunhage reflects on what promises to be another exciting year for innovation at Ajax, his focus on the opportunities within Web3 and what he is looking forward to discussing at TheTicketingBusiness Forum at Emirates Old Trafford from April 19-20…
What are the key current challenges and opportunities in the sector?
Kjell Scheunhage: “Ticket fraud has been a hot topic for quite a while and was also in the news in The Netherlands in the past few weeks. At Ajax we also have some challenges in this area, however we see it also as an opportunity. More and more systems are providing solutions which are helping to reduce the issues. We already introduced Resale on our own platform, and also our mobile tickets are helping a lot in this case.
“The demand for tickets is still there and in quite some cases far more than the capacity we have. With Resale we can make optimal use of the capacity and reduce the no-show by offering a friendly journey to sell and purchase the tickets in a secured digital environment.”
What are the most interesting trends you are witnessing in the sector?
KS: “We are very interested in how Web3 will change ticketing in the future. The blockchain is already providing us solutions for mobile tickets and that is only the beginning. Web3 will bring new opportunities for us in the near future and the digital collectibles could be one of them. Also, we expect it will bring new opportunities on fan engagement and loyalty.”
What are Ajax’s ticketing plans over the coming year?
KS: “Over the past two years we have migrated several business-critical systems, including the ticketing system, to new SAAS solutions that are more scalable, sustainable, flexible and provide us continuous innovation possibilities. In the coming year we will be working on our fundamentals and will also work on some great new innovations. We will improve the existing customer journeys and create new ones.
“Overall, the improvements need to make sense on the commercial side, but they also need to make an impact on our fans. We believe we can make much more impact with ticketing. From growing the database to increasing the value towards our partners.
“Personalisation will be an important topic. With better use of our data and the use of existing and new tools, like automated personalisation, we will create better journeys which will lead to more flexible and personalised offers. All for the improved engagement with our fans.”
What are you looking forward to exploring more at the Forum?
KS: “At the Forum we are looking forward to seeing and learning from all attendees. Not only to see the big trends but also the smaller things. In quite some cases it’s the little details which can make quite an impact. It will be great to explore new opportunities and ideas which we can bring back to Amsterdam.”
Explore the future of ticketing with Kjell Scheunhage and hundreds of industry leaders at #TBF23 at Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester, from April 19-20. BOOK TODAY