Despite its century-long history, Bundesliga club FC Schalke 04 has always managed to connect its traditional values with future-forward thinking. In 2017 a widely regarded hackathon was testament to this approach, as was the creation of a stadium-specific currency. The club’s remarkable ability to bridge the gap between its traditional roots and its innovative preparation for future audiences even earned it a spot in the top 15 of the coveted 2017 “Forbes Soccer Team Valuations List” that ranks football clubs worldwide.
The club’s currency, called “Knappen” (“miners”) – relating to the home region’s strong mining heritage – is the only accepted method of payment in Schalke’s cashless home base, the VELTINS-Arena. With the recent roll-out of RFID chips in fan kits, there is no longer a need to even carry payment cards. All that Schalke supporters require to buy refreshments or merchandise when attending the games of the “Königsblauen” is an official jersey that carries the payment chip discretely hidden in the AllyouneedFresh logo badge on the left sleeve of the shirt.
For fans, the integrated chip means no more worries about lost wallets or lost money. To make a purchase, fans simply have to make the left sleeve available for a scan by VELTINS-Arena personnel for a quick and smooth transaction, keeping queues at the refreshment stands short.
Just like the “Knappenkarte,” the credit card-sized prepaid device that fans can still obtain, the RFID chip may be precharged by using the free FC Schalke 04 apps for mobile devices, which are available for both iOS and Android systems. Each “Knappen” is valued at one Euro. The available funds can be viewed and managed at any given time via the Schalke app.