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Express Facial Authentication

Expanding On the Success of Express Facial Authentication Solutions

2023 NFL Season In Review: Cleveland Browns Expand On Success of Express Facial Authentication Solutions

It’s been a few days since the 2023 NFL season officially came to an end, and everyone is already looking ahead to next season – including the MVP of the victorious Kansas City Chiefs, who set his vision on next year’s championship in a post-game interview. 

While we’re also looking ahead to next season with a long list of new integrations and product offerings, we wanted to take a moment to look back at last season – or, rather, the past four seasons. 

How We Built The Express Fan Experience

We’ve been partnering with the Cleveland Browns since the 2020 season when we worked with them to roll out a touchless ticketing solution that satisfied the state of Ohio requirements to allow fans to safely re-enter sports events on a limited basis following the outbreak of COVID-199. 

Despite the challenges in developing and deploying an innovative new approach to ticketing in Express Access, that first pilot season was a success and provided validation that fans were not only willing to participate in this optional offering – they loved it. Furthermore, the Browns organization itself began using the same technology in-house for access control and credentialing at various team facilities.

From there, we continued to work with the Browns each off-season to collect feedback and make improvements to our “Express” style offerings while also looking at new ways to use our facial authentication technology to create a sensational guest experience in Cleveland.

This inevitably led to a fourth use case of our technology in Cleveland: Express Beer. And according to the Sports Business Journal, one of the best technology collaborations of 2023. (according to the Sports Business Journal). 

Express Facial Authentication For Concessions And Payments

One of the biggest challenges most teams, including the Browns, currently have is dealing with long lines and wait times at concessions during games – especially at peak times. To solve this problem, the goal was to have a compact and portable “express lane” where fans could grab a limited selection of beers and snacks in a matter of seconds – not minutes. 

The idea involved utilizing unused concourse space and setting up portable coolers with hands-free checkout that leveraged facial authentication to identify pre-enrolled fans, verify their age, and complete the transaction. 

Although it may have felt like magic to fans who used it, the real magic of Express Beer was on the backend of the experience. By allowing fans to upload their ID and credit card as part of their enrollment workflow, the days of having to show an ID and swipe a credit card for an alcohol purchase are officially over. 

Enrolled fans in Cleveland can now scan their tickets at the gate and purchase beers and chips without ever having to pull out a phone or wallet – and can do it in under 3 minutes from ticket scan to first sip. 

Do Fans Actually Trust Facial Authentication Enough to Use It?

Spoiler alert: Yes!

We’ve seen fan adoption continue to grow year-over-year since our first deployment in 2020, largely because we listen closely to our customers. These teams know their fans, and their fans put their trust in the teams – to deliver an exceptional product on and off the field. 

The Browns have done an incredible job communicating the benefits of Express Solutions directly to their fans in emails and on their website ahead of events. They have also carefully crafted their on-site layout and designs to draw fans’ attention to using Express lanes with signage and organic word-of-mouth. 

The numbers don’t lie – guests love to use Express:

  • 98,438 tickets were scanned through Express Access lanes in 2023
  • 43% of all season ticket holders are enrolled in Express Access facial ticketing
  • 9.3/10 fan satisfaction rating in Browns fan survey (highest rated item)
  • 5,500 Express Beer orders with an average transaction time of 10-12 seconds
  • 2,457 credentialed entries for field-level access or secure areas on game days
  • 946 staff members who used over 300k times at 21 access control locations

If you want to read more about the success of the 2023 season, click here to access the case study. 

Looking Ahead

Our team will use this off-season (just like we have since 2020) to continue working with our customers and their end users to deliver sensational event experiences that make everyone feel like VIPs. 

Wicket is proud to have the support of a great customer like the Cleveland Browns as we do our part in building the future of the fan experience, as well as our integration partners and the program sponsors in Cleveland – Verizon for Express Access and Bud Light for Express Beer. 

With a growing list of teams in the NFL and other major sports leagues like the MLB, MLS, and NBA using our technology – we look forward to seeing more fans experiencing the future of the fan experience for themselves! 

About Wicket

Wicket Software is a privacy-first facial authentication platform provider with patented computer vision AI technology that enables sensational event experiences for fans, guests, and employees with frictionless touchpoints that delight users and strengthen security.

Wicket has been in use since 2020 and deployed for facial ticketing, credentialing, access control, and payments in numerous sports stadiums, at major conferences, and in corporate office environments.

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