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Face Authentication for Sports

How Face Authentication Is Transforming the Sports Industry

If you go to a Cleveland Browns game, you’re going to witness something you would have never dreamed possible. On top of sporting the #1 defense in the NFL, they’ve revolutionized the way their fans are facing game day from the front gate to the final play. 

Cleveland partnered with face authentication innovator Wicket to pilot the latest cutting-edge technology experience that’s streamlining ticketing, optimizing concession sales, and making security a breeze. The result? A touchdown with a 2-point conversion. In overtime. For the win. Fans gave the super-fast face authentication express lanes a 9.7 out of 10 for satisfaction, and they’ve been singing its praises ever since.

That makes ticketing—ticketing—the highest-rated aspect of Cleveland Browns Stadium for the legions of shirtless Dawg Pound die-hards praying for the playoffs, and the rest of the sports industry is taking note. Teams like the Falcons, Titans, and Mets have all introduced face authentication platforms to speed things up for players, officials, the press box, and ticket holders alike.

It’s fast, fun, futuristic, and best of all, a financial game-changer for an industry that’s as competitive in the boardroom as it is on the field. Without a doubt, face authentication is transforming the future of sports, and we’re still only in the preseason. 

Authentication vs. Recognition

Before we get into the benefits, let’s clear up an important difference between face recognition and face authentication. Facial recognition systems have been rightfully criticized in the past for how they’ve been deployed. Naturally, the idea of a company covertly screening their fans’ faces doesn’t always sit well with stadium patrons. Nobody wants to take their family to see their favorite sports team and have to worry about whether their biometric data is going to be misused to deny them entry. 

Let’s be crystal clear: this is NOT what face authentication software is all about. In fact, it’s completely the opposite. 

Face recognition is about keeping people out. Face authentication is about getting fans in. And boy, is it turning heads in the sports industry. 

Accelerating Entry

Face authentication works by linking your facial biometric data with your tickets in the same way a QR code connects to your boarding pass at the airport. Once a ticket holder sets up their profile on Wicket, they simply look at the camera on a tablet at the gate and it instantly confirms they bought a ticket, or even several tickets.

So why use your face instead of a device or your palm? Two reasons:

1. Face authentication is a touchless and highly reliable way to secure user data.

2. Your face doesn’t have a battery life nor is service always available to pull up digital tickets

By linking everything to your most unique feature, promoters and venues can reduce wait times at the gate by 75% and confirm ticket purchases in as little as 300 milliseconds—that’s literally in the blink of an eye. Including stepping up to the hardware, the average fan can be scanned and headed toward their seat in a grand total of 2 seconds or less.

Between labor and lag time, each Express Access lane is estimated to save the Browns $8000 per season, but they can’t put a price on how much fans love it. It’s the biggest win/win for the sports industry since the end of the 2012 NFL referee lockout. 

Concessions Without Concessions

Because face authentication allows for any information to be linked to your biometrics, concession areas reap the same cost-saving benefits as the front gate. If patrons choose to add their ID and credit card to their profile, buying beer and hotdogs is as simple as smiling for the camera. Without the need to pull out your driver’s license and credit card, participating fans will never miss a home run waiting in line. 

And before you start worrying about security, face authentication software is some of the most reliable technology of its kind on the planet. Wicket, for instance, boasts a 99.7% accuracy rate, which is .03% better than the software U.S. Customs and Border Protection uses to clear people entering the country.

Plus, if anything goes wrong at the Express Beer kiosk, you don’t start buying rounds for the entire stadium—Wicket has a 0.00% reported false positive rate, so the only issue you’ll have is remembering which credit card gives you the most rewards points. 

Enhancing Player Profiles

Finally, biometric authentication is making life easier and safer for the people who are creating sporting events as well. Even a year or two ago, having a famous face and a spot on the roster didn’t mean anything if you forgot your team ID at the hotel. With Wicket, a quarterback’s three-quarter profile is their first-quarter passport to the sideline on Sunday. 

Organizations can add all their employees to Wicket’s access list, making it quicker than ever to staff posts and prepare for patrons in a timely fashion. That means a better experience for everyone who comes to the game, regardless of whether they opt into face authentication or arrive with a paper ticket. 

Interfacing with the Future of Sports

Performance is everything in sports and every generation of thrill-seekers flocks to their local colosseum for a total immersion in the raw speed and talent that only elite athletics can provide. Top promotions companies, teams, and venues are clawing for the latest technologies to give their fans an unparalleled experience of the game, and face authentication is unlocking the future one dazzled smile at a time. 

In the sports arena, Wicket is the unchallenged authority in face authentication. With a peerless roster of NFL, MLB, NBA, and MLS teams and a proven track record of success, their platform is transforming the sports industry with its ease of onboarding, cost-saving efficiency, and unforgettable user engagement. Whether it’s filling a stadium, selling peanuts and Cracker Jack, or getting a star to the locker room on time, Wicket is making sure nobody ever has to miss a moment. 

Contact Wicket today and bring your fans face to face with the future of live events. 

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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