Up to 60% more fans will be able to enjoy live sporting events under Covid-secure conditions – when regulations allow – thanks to Fujitsu’s Quantum-Inspired Optimization Services (QIOS) based on its Digital Annealer.

As well as enabling more fans to return to arenas, the technology results in substantially increased revenue for major sports clubs and promotors of other arena events.

Fujitsu’s solution is currently under evaluation by clubs in the Bundesliga – Germany’s top-tier soccer league, with several Bundesliga football clubs keen to take advantage of it. Fujitsu’s modeling for the Berlin Olympic Stadium shows that the Digital Annealer can increase the number of seats in use while complying with social distancing guidelines by 60%, resulting more income per game day through ticket sales alone.

The world-famous Nürburgring race track is convinced of how efficiently the system can work, following tests during the 24h race and Formula1. The Nürburgring, where different regulations apply, expects to accommodate up to 30% more spectators using the Fujitsu Digital Annealer.

Mirco Markfort, CEO at Nürburgring, says: “Tests with the Digital Annealer technology showed that we could have achieved 30-40% higher occupancy per grandstand at test events under the same Corona specifications in comparison to the real booking behaviour. This is impressive and showed us how the Digital Annealer can perform. We can very well imagine using this technology in the future, provided it can be linked to our ticketing system.”

Fans typically buy tickets in blocks of various sizes according to the number of friends or family taking part. However, until now, Covid-safe seating plans have been forced to assume a more rigid layout. Typically, pairs of seats are separated with a ‘buffer’ of empty places to maintain safe social distancing. This pattern has to be maintained, regardless of whether purchasers want to sit in pairs or not.


Fujitsu’s Digital Annealer enables seating plans that maximize compliant admission regulations

With the Digital Annealer, event promotors can now rapidly calculate seating plans that are flexible to fans’ precise needs and in line with local social distancing requirements, rather than a standard seating pattern-based purely on pairs. This highly complex calculation takes too long on conventional computers to be practical for online ticket sales. However, the Digital Annealer captures quantum computers’ extraordinary ability to resolve so-called ‘combinatorial optimization’ calculations – selecting the best possible outcome from a vast array of choices.

Joern Nitschmann, Head of Manufacturing and Automotive at Fujitsu Central Europe, comments: “When sports and other major events come back into our lives, social distancing is still going to be a major requirement, limiting the number of tickets available. The optimization calculation facing event organizers is so complex that conventional computers cannot produce optimal solutions quickly enough to allow promotors to take advantage. The great news for fans and promoters alike is that Fujitsu’s QIOS solution ensures the correct social distancing for Covid safety and therefore allows more people into the events they have been missing so much.”