Photo credit: Julio Aguilar/Getty Images
Three months into 2019 and there’s already been a flurry of activity around cashless in the stadium sector. The cashless trend is gaining momentum around the world, and it’s here to stay.
With statistics proving time and time again that going cashless is a no-brainer, there are three very big things to consider when thinking about going cashless:
- Infrastructure: Taking a stadium cashless is surprisingly painless. There’s no big tech implementation and the cashless system can complete transactions without WiFi or 4G connectivity. That being said, it’s important to take your customer flow into consideration when planning your touchpoints. Make it easy for your fans to top up their wristbands or season ticket cards and clearly identify cashless kiosks.
- Data: With the cashless system, you’ll have access to tons of valuable data and insights, so make sure you’re ready to use it. Before you launch your cashless strategy, think about how you’ll market to your customers based on purchase behaviour and how you’ll reward your top fans. If you have a loyalty program, you can even tie the cashless system into your loyalty points scheme.
- Consumer appetite: In the UK, two-thirds of consumer purchases are already made sans-cash, and in other parts of Europe it’s even lower (in Sweden, less than 2 per cent of money spent is via notes and coins). Your customers want to go cashless, so make sure it’s easy for them to do it. Over-communicate the cashless message to make the experience as frictionless as possible.
Now that you’ve gotten the basics down, here’s a quick round-up of who has made headlines for making the move to cashless.
Mercedes Benz Stadium
Atlanta, GA – Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta United FC
Mercedes Benz Stadium debuted its cashless system on 10 March at Atlanta United’s first home match. To avoid discouraging fans who don’t have access to credit and debit cards, the stadium installed “reverse ATM machines” where fans could deposit cash in exchange for a Visa debit card. The stadium was pleased to report that only 1 per cent of the fanbase used these machines on opening day, demonstrating sports fans’ hunger for cashless. An added benefit, the venue was able to reduce prices for several menu items that had been rounded up to the nearest dollar to speed up cash transactions. With no cash handling to worry about, the stadium was able to pass down the value to attendees.
Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
London, UK – Tottenham Hotspur
The long-awaited Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is set to open its gates in London this spring, and when it does you won’t be able to find any cash inside. Beyond the cashless announcement, the stadium has previewed some of its new street-food-style food and drink offerings, proving they’re taking the Hotspur fan experience to the next level.
Tampa Bay, FL – Tampa Bay Rays
Making waves (no Florida pun intended) as the first cashless stadium in North America, Tropicana Field made the move to cashless this year to reduce queues at Rays games. Fans can complete transactions using credit, debit, gift cards, NFC wallets or with preloaded funds on their season ticket card. Their cashless strategy not only includes food and beverage inside of the stadium but also applies to merchandise, parking and ticketing.
Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi and Noevir Stadium Kobe
Japan – Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, Vissel Kobe
As part of their newly-announced “smart stadium concept”, e-commerce brand Rakuten has announced that Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi and Noevir Stadium Kobe will be fully cashless in 2019. The stadium will accept payments via the Rakuten Pay app, Rakuten Edy e-money and credit and debit cards. The move will streamline transactions throughout the stadium, reducing queues and improving fan experience.
Interested in making your stadium or sporting event cashless? Learn more.