Autonomous technology innovators, GroundWOW, have been deploying their world first capability at Edgeley Park as part of their Partnership with National League team Stockport County Football Club. The deal, which was announced back in December 2021, gives Stockport 24-hour access to the technology, creating opportunities to turn their pitch side perimeter into advertising space. For GroundWOW, the agreement grants them stadium authentic access and the chance to work alongside first-class teams in operations, commercial and marketing.
“Stockport’s ambition is obvious to anybody who is around the club just now and with ambitious plans of our own, it felt like a great fit from the moment we first met” said GroundWOW’s Chief Commercial Officer, David Pritchard. “Stockport have never shied away from doing things differently. We know the club have a strong commercial foothold in the community and so bringing a world first capability to that setting is a real source of excitement”. On signing the agreement, Stockport’s Director of Operations, Rick Simkin said, “We went to see GroundWOW at their high-tech headquarters and we were blown away by what they are doing”. He continued, “GroundWOW think on the same scale we do and so we are excited to imagine the sort of activations we can bring to life”.
GroundWOW’s most recent activation for Stockport County FC saw printed logos for main partner brands PUMA and VITA in preparation for the game against Southend United on Saturday April 9th. The logos were hard to miss on the BT Sport live broadcast. Pritchard commented, “it was terrific to be on this job and deploy one of our autonomous robots to create two killer looking brand activations” he continued, “and it’s always a privilege to be behind the scenes at iconic venues like Edgeley Park and to work with people on the club side who are absolutely fanatical about what they do. The activation for TV at Stockport County was all of that and more!”.
The game at GroundWOW’s nearest footballing neighbour was an opportunity to showcase the SFXMAX, their new touchline ground printer. This latest model has been created especially for pitch side presence at sporting venues, printing in full colour and up to 3m high at unlimited length. The pitch perimeter is prime real estate in football and lends itself to many opportunities for brand activations, whether this is for partners, sponsors or businesses seeking advertising space.
GroundWOW robots are designed for all leagues from grassroots to professional. The primary focus is in the sports sector with an intuitive technology that allows users to turn under-utilised real estate into incremental revenue. There’s also an expanding product line based on differing needs depending on the business, and whether technology is deployed for game days or non-game day events, such as conferences or exhibitions. The idea of having something that can be out of the box and printing in under ten minutes is a fundamental part of the value proposition given the opportunistic capability that hands to a client who might need to react to a situation with zero notice.
GroundWOW aims to be the world’s most environmentally conscious and low-cost-efficient electric ground marking vehicle. Being conscious of their carbon footprint has always been important throughout their timeline and the robots have been created with environmental impacts in mind. The paint is turf, animal and human safe, and the choices of materials and power source were all made with a carbon conscious outcome very much in mind. At the Stockport activation, the paints were removed just as easily as they were printed. Whether it’s artificial or real turf, GroundWOW prints are non-permanent and can be removed by jet washing off or allowing the turf to grow and then mowing over it. This means the same patch of land can be used repeatedly without any long-term damage.
This isn’t the first time GroundWOW’s technology has been seen by large crowds with previous activations including work for The Jockey Club at The Cheltenham Festival, the Festival of Cricket for the Professional Cricketers’ Trust at Wormsley cricket ground, and at Old Trafford stadium for the live broadcast of SoccerAid.