MLB Says Three Strikes and You’re Outdated to Concessions Payments

With the return of baseball season, major teams are upgrading their in-arena ordering and payments.

Take, for instance, New York’s Yankee Stadium, which this year is tapping Uber Eats’ technology to not only enable gamegoers to make food purchases from their seats but also to have items delivered right to them in select sections of the ballpark, as Uber confirmed to PYMNTS via email.

This move eliminates the friction consumers have come to expect, leaving the game action for long periods of time to track down the vendor they are looking for and wait in lengthy lines. As such, tech upgrades of this kind allow teams to improve the game-going experience, keeping fans coming back more often.

The move comes nearly a year after Uber’s originally announced the launch of Uber Eats at Stadiums last May, which promised mobile ordering and payment but did not yet include in-seat delivery capabilities.

“Want to grab a bite at the game but also watch every play?” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi wrote at the time. “Now you don’t have to choose. Our in-venue ordering on Uber Eats and Postmates allows you to place your order from concessions at the stadium and skip the line to pick up your food when it’s ready.”

Indeed, many consumers have come to expect this kind of on-demand convenience. Research from PYMNTS’ study “The ConnectedEconomy™ Monthly Report: The Rise of the Smart Home,” which drew from a survey of nearly 2,700 U.S. adults, found that 43% of consumers order from aggregators each month.

Meanwhile, as the Yankees offer in-seat delivery via the popular restaurant aggregator, The Texas Rangers are offering the capability straight from the MLB Ballpark app at Globe Life Field in partnership with food service and hospitality company Delaware North.

“We are continuously evaluating our operations and customer insights to understand how we can add even more variety … and bring new levels of convenience for fans at Globe Life Field,” Casey Rapp, Delaware North’s general manager at the stadium, said in a statement.

The news release also noted that the team is adding a concessions shop with Amazon’s Just Walk Out frictionless checkout capability and the eCommerce giant’s Amazon One pay-by-palm capabilities. Similarly, the Atlanta Braves, also in partnership with Delaware North, is adding five new self-service concession shops at Truist Park, which also includes a location featuring these Amazon technologies.

Similarly, The Seattle Mariners’ T-Mobile Park is adding three new frictionless checkout shops, dubbed Walk-Off Markets, using the technology in partnership with food service provider Sodexo.

“Our team is constantly working year-round to ensure we provide the best dining experience for Mariners fans each season, through exciting new menu creations, bold new local partnerships and creative concepts,” Sodexo Live general manager Meagan Murray said in a statement. “[We’re] offering expanded points of sale and more frictionless payment locations this season, so fans will be able to get back to their seats quicker to watch the game!”

Certainly, consumers are looking for more convenient checkout options. According to data cited in the February edition of PYMNTS’ Retail Tracker® series, Innovating the Retail Checkout Experience, created in collaboration with LS Retail, 85% of retail customers say self-checkout is faster than waiting for a cashier, and 60% prefer self-checkout to interacting with a cashier.