Operating football stadiums involves various organisational challenges in the areas of event  administration, fan services, security and visitor management, and sustainable sporting venue management. A wide range of innovative technologies and services can help to further modernise the processes in professional football in terms of digitalisation and professionalism. To this end, club officers, stadium operators, the DFL and the DFB regularly receive novel proposals to be tested for practical applicability in a stadium and footballing context.

The joint initiative “Stadium Innovations” of the DFL and the DFB enables the participating clubs to acquire knowledge about the benefits and usefulness of new innovative products and share their experiences with each other. The format also gives future-oriented companies the opportunity to present their own innovations and have them tested in practice.

Content from the final report:

Description of the innovation

The innovation developed by SWIS GmbH involves drone detection and defence. Software can be used to manually or automatically take control of unfamiliar drones and land them at a predefined location. Alternatively, the drone can also be automatically sent back to the pilot or stopped at the site boundary or the predefined area. Drones can be detected within a radius of three kilometres and their location tracked in real time.

Pilot phase timeline/ resources

The test took place on a Bundesliga matchday in November 2021. Installing the system requires access to the stadium roof.

Potential benefits

The main added value of the innovation is increased security during stadium operations. The early detection of airborne drones in the area surrounding the stadium and the localisation of the pilot can prevent illegal drone flights and potential accidents. According to the provider, the system could also be used as a mobile solution for other applications within the club (e.g. training grounds). The innovation can also be used to prevent drones from making unauthorised video recordings.

Investment volume for procurement and operation

The price for procuring the system varies depending on the stadium and the number of antennas required. Alternatively, the provider intends to offer a rental model for predefined (high-risk) matchdays.

Assessment of the innovation from the association’s perspective

The added value of the innovation is tangible and the system has demonstrated its functionality in testing. Given the current probability of risk occurrence at league matches, however, procuring the system involves substantial costs. The innovation appears to have the greatest benefit for individual high-risk matches or matches with a high degree of media and public attention. The mobile use of the system for other applications within the club (e.g. protection for team buses, (non-) public training sessions, league matches) may lead to a different cost–benefit assessment depending on the respective circumstances. According to the provider, these additional applications are realistically achievable.

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