Going to a live pro sports event is one of the most exciting experiences anyone can have, and for many enthusiasts, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. A seat at the stadium or arena to see a major franchise compete can be expensive, and venue operators have to do everything in their power to make their promotions as electrifying as possible for their fans.
Unfortunately, managing 50,000 fanatics and their families from the parking lot to the concession stand is no easy task. In fact, without great systems in place and a lot of trained staff, it can quickly turn into a nightmare, and a big part of the value patrons feel at the ballpark or hockey rink comes from the things they don’t have to deal with.
Operators who can keep lines short and make transactions simple encourage fans to see the game live instead of on TV. Concession lines are the worst offenders of all, and frictionless authentication technology is one of the biggest game changers when it comes to reducing wait times and getting fans back in their seats to see the highlights.
The State of the Concessions Game
Back in the 50s, people took their families to the ballpark expecting the staples we’ve all come to associate with going to a game: peanuts, Cracker Jack, hotdogs, and beer. They’re classics for a reason, and beer and hotdogs still top the list of most consumed concessions at major sporting venues.
However, since the advent of the internet and the Food Network, the American public has developed some pretty sophisticated expectations when it comes to the concessions kiosks at NFL, NBA, MLB, and MLS games. It’s not uncommon to find exotic dishes like pho, specialty BBQ, fried chicken, poke bowls, sushi, and even fine dining.
All these choices are making fans happier than ever to sacrifice a few minutes on the game clock to grab a quick bite, but all the options can create some big lines and long wait times that can infuriate even the hungriest sports fanatic. 94% of attendees buy food and drinks when they go to the game, but over half say they would go more often if the lines weren’t such a liability. In fact, most fans agree that wait times of 10 minutes or more to get a beer are an instant no-go when there’s a game on the line.
Serving Guests Faster and Better
Fortunately, technology is coming to the rescue of parched and starving fans who are reluctant to leave their seat for a snack. People expect the same kinds of convenient, app-driven services and tech-supported time-savers at an NFL game as they get from online banking software, food delivery fleets, and airline ticket counters.
From frictionless authentication platforms to in-seat ordering, the best venue operators are saving their fans time and filling their bellies faster than ever before. Here are some of the top solutions to long concession lines at the game.
In-Seat Ordering and Delivery
The dream of ordering food from your seat and having it delivered has finally arrived, and companies from Uber Eats to Grubhub are all fighting for a piece of the action. Nearly a third of fans agree that it’s high time for this service to be available, and it’s slowly transitioning from a premium service to an every-man option.
By scanning a QR code on the back of the seat in front of them, patrons can order food from a range of participating vendors for in-seat delivery. And while the service largely remains a VIP perk, it still takes some of the pressure off long lines.
Anywhere there’s heavy foot traffic, technology is offering solutions to speed up wait times and reduce overhead expenses. Self-serve kiosks are already popular at airports and the grocery store checkout, but they’re beginning to take some of the pressure off long lines for beer and food at stadiums too.
Self-service interfaces make ordering food much faster and easier—especially when patrons already know exactly what they want—and that frees up staff to focus on assembling and delivering orders. Also, self-service kiosks require a smaller footprint and can reduce common human errors that further back up the line.
Frictionless Payment and Ticketing
Frictionless authentication solutions are by far and away one of the most exciting developments for fighting concession woes, and they’re fast becoming the gold standard of reliability and efficiency for sports events around the world. These systems allow patrons to associate a payment method to their personal fan account so they can confirm concessions purchases with nothing more than a smile.
The impact on lines is dramatic: with a turnaround time measured in seconds, not minutes, frictionless authentication is reducing wait times and freeing up staff to focus on giving patrons the best food possible. Additionally, facial authentication solutions can be deployed anywhere verification is required. That means the same software that’s reducing wait times at concessions is equally effective for speeding up ticketing and access for patrons, employees, and players alike.
It’s an all-around investment that’s delighting fans from the moment they arrive to the last sip from their favorite beer.
Streamlining Concessions with Wicket
Wicket’s frictionless authentication service is quite simply the best sports and entertainment solution for streamlining events and giving fans the electrifying experience they deserve at the game. Its lightweight facial authentication software is quick to onboard with off-the-shelf consumer hardware and can go from concept to live in as soon as 30 days.
Whether it’s Express Beer, Express Access, or internal operations, Wicket’s services are saving venue operators money, driving revenue, and getting sports fanatics back in their seats in record times to keep everyone focused on the action on the field.
Contact Wicket today to find out how you can take your fan experience to the next level.