NFL teams get in on the cashless act



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Levi’s Stadium going cashless Image: Green Bay Packers

With the outbreak of the deadly COVID-19, the whole process of going digital as well as cashless has accelerated. Touchless is the catchphrase these days. And the US venues are hugely diving into the cashless mode.

The Green Bay Packers (US) have become the latest National Football League (NFL) American football team to join the bandwagon of cashless venues. Their home arena is Lambeau Field.

The Green Bay Packers are a professional American football team based in Green Bay, Wisconsin (US). The Packers compete in the NFL as a member club of the National Football Conference North division.

The Packers and hospitality partner Delaware North announced that Lambeau Field has switched to entirely cashless mode throughout the stadium both on match days and non-match days. This transition affects food and beverage stands, the Packers Pro Shop, the ticket office, 1919 Kitchen and Tap, the Packers Hall of Fame and Stadium Tours and other points of sale across the arena.

All Packers-run businesses at Titletown, the mixed-use development adjoining their residence Lambeau Field, have all gone cashless. Private businesses at Titletown will not be affected by the change. The shift to cashless mode builds upon recent updates to Lambeau Field’s point-of-sale systems and refurbishments to the concourses and concession stands, all aimed at providing the fan an enriching experience.

Initially, the Packers decided to go totally cashless in a gradual manner over the next few seasons. However, the outbreak of coronavirus expedited the same. The picture is still hazy as far as fans returning to the stadium are concerned.

The Packers announced this week that due to the “concerning increase” of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the Green Bay area and across the State of Wisconsin, an indefinite hold will be placed on greeting fans to the stadium fold this season.

“When fans come to Lambeau Field, we know most of them are focused on enjoying the experience and watching the game,” said Packers Director of Development and Hospitality, Charlie Millerwise.

“By shifting to cashless, we can continue building on our recent renovations aimed at making transactions throughout the stadium faster and simpler to allow fans to spend their time having fun and cheering on the Packers. As we continue to face this pandemic, expediting this transition will also help our fans and employees stay safe and healthy,” Millerwise added.

Fans, guests and visitors can use the traditional credit/debit card payment methods, as well as a variety of contactless payment solutions such as Mastercard Nearby Mobile App, Apple Pay, Google Pay and tap-and-go credit cards. More mobile payment solutions will be introduced in future seasons.

Supporters who do not avail the facilities of credit or bank cards may opt for free cash-to-card conversion stations, which issue payment cards that can be used at Lambeau Field, as well as at other retailers, restaurants and businesses outside the facility where Mastercard is accepted.

Commented Dustin Anderson, Delaware North Sportservice’s General Manager at Lambeau Field, “We have been working closely with the Packers to modernize the Lambeau Field hospitality experience for convenience. As we continue to navigate the pandemic, we are also adjusting operations to reduce points of contact to provide reassurance to fans – and going cashless is certainly an important step in that process.”
 

San Francisco 49ers

Joining the Green Bay Packers in going totally cashless is the NFL team San Francisco 49ers who have also announced that their residence Levi’s Stadium will be among the first wave of NFL venues to complete the transition to a cashless payment model whenever fans will be able to return to the stadium.

The San Francisco 49ers are a professional American football team based in the San Francisco Bay Area. They compete in the NFL as a member of the league’s National Football Conference West division.

Levi’s Stadium is an American football stadium located in Santa Clara, California, in the San Francisco Bay Area in US. It has served as the home venue for the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers since 2014.

The 49ers, while also announcing a multiyear partnership extension with its long-time official payments partner Visa, are making the move to only accept card or mobile payments for concessions, merchandise, and other purchases to improve the fan experience through increased speed of service, safety, and security.

Last year, the 49ers declared they would become the first team in global professional sports to include a dedicated menu of food and (non-alcoholic) drink options in the price of tickets for all season ticket members.

Coupled with introducing what the team refers to as its Member Inclusive Menu this year, the shift to digital payments will facilitate Levi’s Stadium to minimize touchpoints for fans while reducing interactions with stadium concessions staff members in an effort to help all parties stay safe and robust.

The above changes have become mandatory in a COVID-19-struck planet, the benefits of which will go on to serve people long after the pandemic is over.

Observed Al Guido, 49ers President, “While the move to fully cashless transactions in venue has advanced more quickly due to the ongoing health emergency, this is a direction we have been heading for several years and we know it’s one that will further improve the fan experience at Levi’s Stadium.”

“Six years of operational data here at Levi’s Stadium tells us that mobile payments are increasing while cash transactions decrease annually. And through our friends at Visa, we know contactless payments reduce transaction times, concessions lines, and some costs,” Guido added.

In preparation for Super Bowl 50 at Levi’s Stadium in 2016, the 49ers and Visa completed an overhaul to improvize the venue’s concessions infrastructure to make it the first fully contactless enabled stadium in the NFL.

With roughly 600 contactless terminals around the facility, fans can quickly pay and at the same time not miss out on on-field action. The whole payment process in the venue is smooth and streamlined.

For spectators who only carry cash, the 49ers are setting up four on-site cash-to-card kiosks that will facilitate fans to exchange cash for a Visa-branded prepaid card, up to $500 with no transaction fee.

Users will be able to swipe the prepaid card for payments inside and outside of the venue and check their balance anywhere, anytime at RCbalance.com. The cards are not reloadable. The kiosks come with English and Spanish language prompts and will sit at various sites inside the stadium security perimeter; locations to be announced at a later date.

Upon opening in 2014, Levi’s Stadium was the first NFL stadium to provide mobile ordering of food, beverage and merchandise from every seat in the stadium for delivery or express pick-up, and the same was made possible by its pioneering app developed by VenueNext.

Regular enhancements to the stadium network and fan experience have enabled the venue to continue introducing novel ideas over the last three years. The 49ers became one of the first teams to move to a mobile-only ticketing model in 2018 and in the next year they were among the first to institute a monthly membership plan that allowed season ticket members to spread out their payments equally over the full year.

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