Astros frictionless ballpark entry for fans



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Facial authentication at Astros stadium Image: Minute Maid Park, Elsapo, CC BY-SA 3.0

The Major League Baseball (MLB) team Houston Astros and Major League Baseball (MLB) recently announced the launch of MLB Go-Ahead Entry, the hands-free, free-flow ballpark entry experience at their residence – the Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas (US) – for the 2024 season.

‘mlb.com’ stated that the fans can register now in the MLB Ballpark app and begin using Go-Ahead Entry on Opening Day. First introduced last season at the 42,901-capacity Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (US), the Go-Ahead Entry system uses facial authentication technology to allow the ticket holders who have chosen to use the service to enter the ballpark at the dedicated gates at full walking speed without stopping. The Go-Ahead Entry will be available at all the entrances at the Minute Maid Park in 2024. The fans will also have the option at all entrances to enter via the traditional ticket scanning methods.

New York (US)-based the Major League Baseball (MLB) is a professional baseball league and the highest level of organized baseball in the United States and Canada. One of the big four major leagues, the MLB comprises 30 teams, divided equally between the National League (NL) and the American League (AL), with 29 in the United States and 1 in Canada.

The Houston Astros are an American professional baseball team based in Houston, US. The Astros compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the American League West Division, having moved to the division in 2013 after spending their first 51 seasons in the National League.

The Minute Maid Park, nicknamed The Juice Box, is a retractable roof stadium in Houston, Texas, United States. It opened in 2000 as the ballpark of Major League Baseball’s Houston Astros. It has a seating capacity of 41,168, which includes 5,197 club seats and 63 luxury suites.

Commented Karri Zaremba, Senior Vice-President, Product – Ballpark Experience and Ticketing, MLB, “After a successful pilot program last season, we’re excited to bring the Go-Ahead Entry option to more fans this season. This technology is the next innovation for the ballpark experience as we continue to remove friction and help fans better enjoy their time at our games. By expanding Go-Ahead Entry to more stadiums across the league, more fans have the opportunity to experience this innovative system and spend more time watching the action on the field.”

Maintained Marcel Braithwaite, Senior Vice-President (VP), Business Operations, Houston Astros, “We are excited to bring Go-Ahead Entry to the Minute Maid Park in 2024. We are always looking for ways to improve our fan experience at the Minute Maid Park and the addition of this technology provides a way for our fans to have a more streamlined way to enter the stadium, adding to a better ballpark experience.”

‘mlb.com’ further stated that the fans can enroll in Go-Ahead Entry on the MLB Ballpark app by following the prompts that capture an image of the user’s face. That image is converted into a unique alphanumeric code, and then the image itself is deleted. This code, also known as a token, is associated with the respective fan’s account. When an enrolled fan walks through the Go-Ahead Entry Lanes, a facial authentication camera scans their face to match with the enrolled tokens in the system and allows access. Once fans have enrolled in the MLB Go-Ahead Entry, they can use the service at any MLB ballpark that has installed the technology.

The MLB Go-Ahead Entry, which launched its pilot program in August 2023 with the Philadelphia Phillies at the Citizens Bank Park, includes a combination of free-flow security screening technology and facial authentication-based gate management, resulting in quicker, hands-free entry into the ballpark. The MLB’s Go-Ahead Entry system technology uses a camera that identifies any opted-in fan as a registered member as they walk in, automatically validating the tickets once identified. Fans that used the Go-Ahead Entry lanes at the Citizens Bank Park last season went through 68 percent faster than a traditional entry lane, with 2.5 times more throughput than the next fastest traditional lane.

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