Barclaycard today, 1 March, has announced a five-year deal to become the official payment partner of The NEC Group’s Ticket Factory, LG Arena, National Exhibition Centre (NEC) and National Indoor Arena (NIA).
Barclaycard says its 12m customers will be able to benefit from enriched entertainment and payment experiences as a result.
NEC Group Chief Executive Paul Thandi tells CN the deal is “phenomenal” in terms of value, adding the exact financial terms of the deal remain confidential.
Barclaycard will install ’contactless’ terminals across the NEC Group estate and customers participating in the free to join Barclaycard Unwind programme will be able to access preferential ticketing, customer lounges and fast track entrances at the Group’s venues.
The partnership will also see contactless payment systems rolled out across the Group.
“We believe in technology and providing it in a simply way to customers. This development puts us on a global stage with the very best entertainment experience in the world,” Thandi adds.
The deal will speed through The NIA’s £20.6m transformation by 2014, when it will reopen under the proposed new name of ‘The NIA, A Barclaycard Unwind Experience’.
The deal builds on Barclaycard’s wider involvement in the entertainment industry, which includes existing partnerships with Barclaycard Mercury Prize, Barclaycard Wireless Festival and Wembley Arena, A Barclaycard Unwind Experience.
Dan Mathieson, Head of Experiential Marketing and Partnerships at Barclaycard, says: “Striking this deal gives Barclaycard a chance to showcase innovation in payment at some of the UK’s hottest entertainment events and venues. The eventual rollout of contactless technology across The NEC Group means customers will be able to pay quickly and easily for shows they want to see, using their contactless cards or contactless-enabled mobile phones, even if they’re on the go.”
Thandi adds: “Having a partnership of this calibre is a landmark in the NEC Group’s renewed evolution. This partnership fits our business philosophy around providing meaningful live experiences for our customers. We share a drive to invest in technology and solutions that simplify the customer journey. Our customers can look forward to smart technology, exclusive benefits and a next generation arena to visit the world’s best performers.”
Thandi also tells CN Ticket Factory was now the second biggest national ticket agent in the UK after Ticketmaster.
The brand link up with Barclaycard follows the NEC’s link up with LG on its Arena branding and other corporate partnerships with brands such as Starbucks at the Group’s outlets.
Thandi reveals the first ground will be broken before summer on the new NEC expansion programme, which includes a new conference centre at site, as part of the Genting casino, hotel and entertainment investment.
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