An Aston Villa membership card used for payment

Barclays and Fortress announce partnership to launch multi-functional membership cards to drive fan engagement for sports teams

11 July 2019

Access, loyalty and payment capabilities to be combined into one platform

The collaboration involves a tie-up between one of the UK’s largest banks and a sports technology company with clients in sports leagues around the world, including the National Football League (NFL) and Major League Baseball (MLB) in the US and 16 of the 20 teams in the English Premier League (EPL).

The deal will see Barclays embed payment capabilities into a team-branded membership card through an account underpinned by its mobile payments platform, Pingit. Fans will be able to spend on their cards both within their home grounds and anywhere card payments are accepted.

The payment functionality will be combined with digital ticketing and loyalty on one platform. This will help teams improve their decision-making as they seek to deliver the best in services, experiences and incentives for their supporters. Furthermore, teams will gain an additional source of revenue through promoting affiliate brands to their fans.

This also creates a ‘win-win’ for supporters: Each time they spend with an affiliate brand, they will accrue points that can be redeemed for exclusive rewards or money-can’t-buy experiences with their team – such as meet and greets with their favourite players, attendance at pre-match briefings and match seats in the press box.

Barclays and Fortress are in active talks with Aston Villa Football Team and Harlequins Rugby Union to roll out the new cards during the 2019/2020 season, with more teams in the pipeline.

This is the latest move in Barclays’ wider commitment to support the sporting community. In March the bank announced a landmark partnership with the Football Association to become the official sponsor of The FA Women’s Super League – the biggest ever investment in UK women’s sport by a brand. Barclays is also the official banking partner of the Premier League, in addition to supporting hundreds of sports-related businesses of all sizes.

Adam Herson, Business Development Director at Barclays, said: “We’re excited to partner with Fortress to create an all-in-one membership card that will help the sports industry take fan engagement to the next level. We believe this will be a win-win for both teams and supporters, building a stronger connection between the two through an improved customer experience. By working together with two prestigious sports teams, Aston Villa and Harlequins, we will be well positioned to start a sporting revolution.”

Richard Pinnick, SVP Global Business Development at Fortress, said: “For sports brands loyalty and fan engagement really matters – it is how they add life-long value to their supporter base. By integrating stadium services and everyday payments onto a single membership card, managed by our open loyalty platform, we can now deliver in-stadium services, experiences, and content that are hyper-relevant and crafted to build long-lasting value for the supporter and team.”

Nicola Ibbetson, Chief Commercial Officer at Aston Villa Football Team, said: “The new membership card will be of great benefit to both our supporters and the team itself. It will enable us to better understand our fans whilst also being able to offer them tailored products, discounts and money-can’t-buy experiences.”

Alex Goldschmidt, Commercial Director at Harlequins Rugby Union, said: “We’re always looking at new ways to improve our supporters’ experiences and this presents another opportunity for us to leverage the latest technology and innovations to do just that.

"Having successfully transitioned to become a cashless stadium at the start of the 2018/19 season, and also introducing mobile ticketing, we are excited to be trialling this latest technology with Fortress next season.”

"The partnership between Fortress and Barclays was supported by a minority investment in Fortress facilitated by Barclays Ventures, a specialist unit formed in 2018 with an independent mandate to deliver new customer experiences at pace and scale.


Notes to Editors

About Barclays

Barclays is a transatlantic consumer and wholesale bank offering products and services across personal, corporate and investment banking, credit cards and wealth management, with a strong presence in our two home markets of the UK and the US.

With over 325 years of history and expertise in banking, Barclays operates in over 40 countries and employs approximately 83,500 people. Barclays moves, lends, invests and protects money for customers and clients worldwide.

For further information about Barclays, please visit our website 

About Barclays Ventures

Barclays Ventures is a specialist business unit within Barclays with an independent mandate to deliver new customer experiences at pace and scale – ultimately driving growth for communities, business and Barclays. Barclays Ventures identifies, incubates and scales transformational new business lines and business models both within and outside of Barclays through organic build-out, commercial partnerships and venture investments.

About Fortress

Fortress GB is a leader in loyalty and payment engagement technology partnering with sports teams and venues around the world. Founded in the UK the Fortress One platform powers the fan engagement programs for NFL, MLB, EPL, and NBA teams. Our powerful personalisation engine enables teams to deliver relevant services, incentives, rewards & offers direct to consumers, via mobile apps or mobile wallets and cards.


About Aston Villa Football Team

Aston Villa is a founder member of both The Premier League and the Football League and is one of only five English teams to have won the European Cup. The team has been in the top flight of domestic English football for 106 seasons.


About Harlequins Rugby Union

Harlequins is one of the oldest and most famous rugby teams in the world. Founded in 1866, the Team has, throughout its vibrant history, been a proud innovator in the game both nationally and globally. The Team is a founder member of the RFU and is as famous for its quartered shirt, as for its expansive style of play.

A truly local and global rugby team, Harlequins has over 230 community teams and schools affiliated locally to The Stoop, our home of over 50 years in south-west London, as well as a further eight across the world (Dallas, Pretoria, Kenya, Abu Dhabi, Future Hope Kolkata, Melbourne, Hobart and Hamilton, New Zealand).

On a playing front Harlequins has developed one of the most successful Academies in the Premiership and competes in the Gallagher Premiership and the European Rugby Champions Cup competitions.

With a host of international stars and homegrown talent, the Team attracts over 90% capacity attendances to all of its matches. On the women’s side Harlequins is one of the leading teams in the Tyrells Premier 15s and continues to set the pace in women’s sport as the Team strives for parity across the game.