Reinventing fan experience at Tropicana Field


Check-out free concessions at Tampa Bay Rays stadium Image: MLB

The Major League Baseball (MLB) team Tampa Bay Rays are bringing a new checkout-free concessions experience to the Budweiser Porch located in Center Field. The new concept, called the Short Stop at the Budweiser Porch, utilizes technology from Zippin.

‘MLB’ stated that the Short Stop at the Budweiser Porch utilizes high resolution camera technology and shelf sensors to eliminate the checkout process and dramatically reduce wait times. Fans validate a payment type upon entry into the store, grab what they want and exit the store – without waiting in line.

The Tampa Bay Rays are an American professional baseball team based in St. Petersburg, Florida (US). The Rays compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the American League East division. Since its inception, the team’s home venue has been the Tropicana Field.

The 42,735-capacity Tropicana Field is a multipurpose domed stadium located in St. Petersburg, Florida, United States. The stadium has been the home of the Tampa Bay Rays of Major League Baseball since the team’s inaugural season in 1998.

San Francisco (US)-based Zippin has developed the next generation of checkout-free technology enabling retailers to quickly deploy frictionless shopping in their stores. Its patent-pending approach uses artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and sensor fusion technology to create the best consumer experience: Banishing checkout lines and self-scanners for good and letting shoppers zip in and out with their purchases. Zippin’s platform uses product and shopper tracking through overhead cameras as well as smart shelf sensors for the highest level of accuracy even among crowded stores.

Said Bill Walsh, Tampa Bay Rays Chief Business Officer, “From digital ticketing to becoming the first major league sports venue to go cash-free in 2019, imagining new ways to improve the fan experience through technology is part of our DNA. This type of frictionless experience is the next step in that journey, where fans spend less time in line and more time watching the action and having fun.”

The Rays have also upgraded their main and side display videoboards to full 10mm HD displays. These panels have been optimized by dialing in the latency, color science and viewing angle to best suit Tropicana Field. The Rays will also unveil a new graphics package and game presentation look throughout the season that will include some fun fan interactive material. The results will be a brighter, sharper and bolder viewing experience on a videoboard that is
30 percent larger than the existing screens.

‘MLB’ further stated that beyond new technology, there are plenty of new things to experience at Tropicana Field in 2023.

The team recently unveiled its 25th anniversary logo, which will be available on a number of retail items, including hats, apparel and souvenir items.

The Rays also announced a mouthwatering new lineup of concessions items for the 2023 season. The Rays were the highest-rated concessions experience (as voted by fans) in Major League Baseball in 2021, and in 2023 were named the ‘Most Foodie Sports Team’ in Tampa Bay at Tampa Bay’s Food Fight, benefiting Metropolitan Ministries. The Rays have worked with a number of local and national hospitality brands with the goal of making the food and beverage experience reflect the best of Tampa Bay’s evolving food culture.

This year the Rays are pleased to welcome several new additions and returning favorites:

  • Tampa Bay’s Little Greek will be serving delicious, freshly-grilled Mediterranean dishes, including Tampa Bay’s signature Greek Salad! Located in the Third Base Food Hall;
  • The nationally renowned, fifth generation family-owned business Omaha Steaks will be delivering high-quality meats to the Tropicana Field in 2023. From burgers to brats and beyond, a variety of mouthwatering Omaha Steaks products will be available to fans throughout the building;
  • Daddies Donuts, a local purveyor of dough and deliciousness, will be churning out freshly made donuts daily in Right Field Street, the Third Base Food Hall and the Rays Club;
  • Beans & Barlour is back – bigger and better! St. Pete’s creative milkshake connoisseurs will be whipping up tasty, tantalizing milkshakes at a new second location in the Third Base Concourse, in addition to their existing location at the Budweiser Porch in Center Field;
  • Sip Shine will be slinging cold, refreshing Moonshine Slushies out of Tropicana Field. These frozen treats, combine high-quality moonshine whiskey and fresh fruit flavors, will be available in the Third Base Food Hall, the Rays Club and Ballpark & Rec;
  • Iron Chef Ming Tsai returns to Tropicana Field with his MingsBings. The James Beard award-winning chef and restaurateur has reinvented this traditional Chinese staple for the 21st century as a vegan, gluten-free and nut-free handheld pocket. MingsBings will be available at Grand Slam in Right Field, Beach Drive BBQ and new this year in our Suite A-La-Carte Menu; and
  • The Rays will have a new Friday night beer promotion in partnership with Anheuser-Busch with BOGO Buds on the Budweiser Porch in Center Field.


Additional menu highlights include:

  • Pig + Potato on the Center Field Porch, home of the Footlong Tater Tot, will add to its lineup with a new hand-rolled Pretzel Dog. A half-pound Nathan’s all beef hot dog is wrapped in house-made pretzel dough, made from scratch daily, and served with house-made mustard sauce. Only 98 Pretzel Dogs will be made for each game and a countdown clock will let fans know the quantity remaining;
  • Beach Drive BBQ is a new concessions stand in the First Base Food Hall featuring Loaded Pulled Pork Nachos, Brisket Banh Mi Sandwiches and Pulled Pork Sliders;
  • In celebration of the Rays 25th anniversary season, the team will be bringing back a fan favorite concessions item from the Devil Rays era. The Stinger Dog, a Nathan’s hot dog with chili and cheese sauce, will be offered at all Whoa Doggy’s locations.

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