MLB’s Tampa Bay Rays Become The First Cash-Free Sports Venue in North America
Major League Baseball’s (MLB) Tampa Bay Rays, have become the first venue in North America to go cash-free at their home stadium.
In collaboration with hospitality partner Levy and analytics and emerging tech firm E15, Tropicana Field will become the first cash-free sports venue in North America, including concessions, team stores, box office, and all other points-of-sale.
The move follows extensive pilot testing engineered and led by E15 at Tropicana Field and venues nationwide to measure the effects of cash-free transactions.
These tests found that transitioning to cash-free environments results in an average transaction time of up to half that of traditional environments that accept cash, resulting in faster moving lines and increased fan satisfaction.
Forms of payment accepted at concession stands and retail stores inside the ballpark will include major credit cards, Rays gift cards, NFC mobile payments such as Apple Pay and Samsung Pay, and Season Ticket Holder Rays Cards.
For fans without electronic forms of payment, cash can be exchanged for gift cards in any amount at all retail locations and in $10 or $20 increments through roaming gift card vendors.
“We have made significant investments each year to improve the ballpark experience for fans, including an overhaul of our approach to food and beverage since the beginning of our partnership with Levy,” Rays Vice President of Strategy & Development, William Walsh said.
“This change will increase the speed of service and reduce lines throughout the ballpark.”
CEO of E15, Jaime Faulkner said: “Throughout our testing last season at Tropicana Field, we saw that fans quickly adapted to cash-free environments and loved the resulting benefits to the game-day experience.”
“By offering fans a variety of forms of electronic payment, coupled with the ability to exchange cash for gift cards, we can ensure that fans are having frictionless experiences and getting back to enjoy the game.”
Fan Fest on February 9 will be the first cash-free event at Tropicana Field in 2019, where fans are invited to shop at the Rays Baseball Foundation’s Yard Sale, as well as the Rays Republic Team Store and auxiliary shops during Fan Fest.