CareCredit - Women's Health April 2024

Biometric Ticketing Drives Stadiums’ Digital Makeover

Biometric Ticketing Drives Stadiums’ Digital Makeover

Baseball season officially kicks off March 28, and fans are set to experience a shift in their stadium visits across the country.

One such change is taking place at Citizens Bank Park, home to the Philadelphia Phillies, where facial recognition ticketing will be introduced at all main entrance gates on opening day.

The implementation of this biometric ticketing system is part of the MLB’s broader initiative to introduce its Go-Ahead Entry facial authentication technology across all stadiums league-wide during the 2024 season. Other teams, including the Houston Astros, are planning to deploy the system starting on opening day, with more expected to adopt it throughout the season.

Fans can submit a selfie through the MLB Ballpark app, which is then converted into a numerical token. The token enables authentication of one’s ticket(s) via a face scan upon entry to the park, all while ensuring privacy by not storing a photo of the fan’s face.

“The security, integrity and confidentiality of your information are extremely important to us,” the MLB said in a frequently asked questions section on the Go-Ahead Entry webpage. “We have implemented technical, administrative and physical security measures designed to protect fan information from unauthorized access, disclosure, use and modification that follow or exceed industry standards for security.”

According to data provided by an MLB spokesperson to Sports Business Journal, fans using Go-Ahead Entry last season went through gates 68% faster than those who used standard entrance lanes, marking an efficiency boost in stadium entry.

Alongside the implementation of biometric ticketing, stadiums — many of which were constructed decades ago — are embracing technology to address long-standing challenges in fan experience and operational efficiency.

One of the most notable transformations is the integration of artificial intelligence-powered self-checkout systems like the ones developed by Mashgin, which have improved the concession experience, reducing processing times from minutes to seconds.

According to Brandon Scott, head of sports deployments at Mashgin, this not only bolsters efficiency and safety but also optimizes revenue generation for stadiums while elevating the overall fan experience.

“The impact we’re having is tremendous on a lot of fronts,” Scott told PYMNTS in an interview. “Fire marshals, for instance, tend to like us because we take a line that used to be 40 minutes long and turn that into three or four minutes, which means there’s nobody walking in the exit or blocking a bathroom. And we’re obviously doing that by being so much faster.”

The integration of technology into the fan experience extends beyond transactions. From streamlined security protocols to hassle-free entry processes, Scott said Mashgin’s kiosks, which can be found in more than 100 U.S. stadiums, are reshaping every aspect of the stadium visit.

“Instead of going through a stadium and taking your bags apart [at security checkpoints], you just walk right through with everything in your pockets,” he said. “Everything from parking to entrance to checkout and concession stand is being streamlined, and technology is having a big part in that.”

Meanwhile, a partnership between the International University Sports Federation and Bornan Sports Technology represents a stride toward digital transformation in university sports.

The collaboration, which “aims to accelerate the adoption of digital technologies across the whole university sport movement,” according to FISU President Leonz Eder, involves using advanced technologies like personalized digital services and cloud computing solutions to enhance resource management for university sports events worldwide.

In essence, the integration of technologies such as biometric ticketing at stadium gates, AI-powered self-checkouts and strategic partnerships underscore the sports sector’s embrace of the digital age. These innovations hold the potential to enhance fan experiences, streamline operations and boost overall efficiency within stadiums.

However, alongside the undeniable benefits of these advanced technologies, it’s crucial to address challenges like data privacy concerns, particularly in the case of biometric technology. Successfully navigating these hurdles will be essential to unlocking widespread adoption and ensuring that the integration of technology in sports continues to advance responsibly and ethically.