3 Strikes and Cashiers Are Out at the New Ball Game

3 Strikes and Cashiers Are Out at the New Ball Game checkout

Baseball is back, and this year, more stadiums are tapping frictionless checkout to cut labor costs while meeting fans’ demand to spend as little time out of their seats as possible.

Colorado Rockies’ Coors Field is expanding its use of Amazon’s Just Walk Out frictionless checkout technology, according to a March 21 news release. It’s also adding self-checkout kiosks from solution provider Tapin2.

Plus, in the same news release, Aramark Sports + Entertainment shared that the Boston Red Sox’s Fenway Park, the Kansas City Royals’ Kauffman Stadium, the Houston Astros’ Minute Maid Park and the Pittsburgh Pirates’ PNC Park are all adding the food service company’s Walk Thru Bru self-service beer markets.

These kinds of innovations seem to pay off for teams. The Tampa Bay Times reported March 21 that Tampa Bay Rays’ Tropicana Field has seen its self-service beer concessions kiosk as “one of [its] biggest success stories.” As such, the company is adding hot food to its self-checkout options.

Meanwhile, Cincinnati Reds’ Great American Ball Park is implementing new self-checkout and deliver-to-seat capabilities and opening a food hub with 32 self-service kiosks.

Cashierless checkout systems can process transactions faster than traditional manned checkout lines. This is particularly beneficial during peak times, such as halftime or between innings, when there’s a rush of customers. When game-goers spend less time waiting in line and more time enjoying the game, it may yield higher customer satisfaction and increased loyalty.

Additionally, cashierless systems can collect data on purchasing patterns and preferences, providing insights for stadium management. The data can be used to optimize inventory management, pricing strategies and overall operations to better meet the needs of fans.

“With a frictionless checkout market, all of a sudden, you can offer a lot more for the guests to meet a data-driven demand — what do they want to buy?” Sandeep Satish, then head of Levy and E15’s sports and entertainment analytics practice (now Levy’s chief commercial officer), told PYMNTS in a 2022 interview.

As the major league reduces the need for cashiers, minor league teams are still catching up to eliminating cash.

“[N]early all but one of Major League Baseball stadiums and a majority of professional sports, as well as entertainment venues across the country, have gone in this direction,” Kyle Wolz, general manager of Bowling Green, Kentucky’s Hot Rods Minor League Baseball team, said in a statement accompanying the announcement of the team’s shift to cashless.

The PYMNTS Intelligence report “Consumer Inflation Sentiment Report: Consumers, Cash and the Inflationary Economy,” which drew from a survey of more than 2,100 U.S. consumers, revealed that 19% of participants do not carry cash. The most common reason people do carry cash is to make small payments, and the second most common reason is force of habit. Consumers who do not carry cash most commonly pay via debit card.

Additionally, amid the MLB’s digital transformation, more teams are implementing biometric authentication via facial recognition ticketing, with additional stadiums expected to adopt the technology throughout the season.

The September PYMNTS Intelligence report “Tracking the Digital Payments Takeover: Biometric Authentication in the Age of Mobile” revealed that two-thirds of consumers either use or are interested in using biometric identification methods.

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