As we head into the NFL pre-season and look forward to the NBA and NHL seasons starting back up this fall, teams and venue operators are looking at how they can continue to improve the fan experience. In a recent Sports Business Journal interview, Steve Cannon, the Vice Chairman of AMB Sports and Entertainment (AMBSE), referred to Mercedes-Benz Stadium as part-factory and part-laboratory, “driven by an obsession to make that fan experience better in any single way we can.”
As teams explore various ways to improve the fan experience, a key step is mapping out the full fan journey – from purchasing tickets, to stadium arrival and entry, to the in-stadium experience (beyond just the game on the field), to getting safely home after the game. There are myriad ways teams can impact steps along that journey and myriad technologies purporting to deliver impressive results. As teams explore these options, evaluating and understanding their true ROI and impact is important.
Facial ticketing is one way to improve the fan experience – by dramatically speeding up the time it takes to get into a stadium and providing fans with a more convenient and frictionless stadium entry experience. But what is the impact of facial ticketing, and does it actually improve the fan experience?
To answer that question, we recently reviewed fan surveys and game data from several Wicket customers, including the Cleveland Browns and New York Mets. The data overwhelmingly shows the positive impact facial ticketing has had.
In their 2022 fan survey, the New York Mets found that 90% of the fans who had used Mets Entry Express wanted the program expanded. The Cleveland Browns showed similar results, with fans giving their Express Access program the highest satisfaction rating of any single fan experience element – an average of 9.7 (out of 10), compared to 8.5 for fans using traditional ticketing.
That positive fan experience is likely a direct result of how much faster fans can get into the stadium with facial ticketing. In a review of stadium ingress data from the 2022 season, the Cleveland Browns measured a 4x improvement in entry time and found they were able to clear ticketing gates before kickoff an average of 10 minutes faster. This means fans get into the stadium faster to see more of the game – and buy more concessions and merchandise!
In addition to these impressive fan-facing results, teams are also seeing a bottom-line impact with facial ticketing. The Cleveland Browns have documented an $8,000 savings per Wicket ticketing lane, enabling benefits such as the redeployment of human resources around the venue. And given how popular these new facial ticketing lines are, teams are able to monetize the program through sponsorships: ABMSE recently announced a major partnership with Delta Air Lines, with the focal point being their Wicket ticketing lanes which have now been branded as the Delta Fly-Through Lanes.
Overall, teams and stadiums are finding that Wicket facial authentication delivers impressive results for facial ticketing – and that is just the start. This same technology is powering Access Control for players, staff, and employees; Credentialing for field-level access and other restricted areas; and Facial Payments to accelerate concessions and merchandise purchasing.
For more details about the ROI of Wicket Facial Authentication, see the complete results here (link to ROI PDF). If you are interested in speaking with Wicket about how we can help you improve your fan experience and deliver a solid ROI, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.