NEW YORK METS & WICKET
The New Face of Baseball:
Mets to Roll Out Facial Recognition Ticketing at Citi Field
By Andrew Cohen
The New York Mets have become the first MLB team to offer a facial recognition ticketing system. The Mets exhibited their facial recognition ticketing system on Thursday at Citi Field as part of a showcase event of the ballpark’s new amenities for the 2022 season. Computer vision company Wicket has partnered with the Mets to add its facial ticket kiosks at all stadium gates after a smaller pilot last season.
To enroll in Wicket’s Entry Express at Citi Field, fans must first upload a selfie on MLB.com to register their face. The Mets are the first MLB team to offer Wicket’s facial ticketing. Last year’s
Wicket pilot at Citi Field was used at VIP gates for about 20 games, with the facial recognition even working on fans with masks on.
“We thought this is one of many components to get fans in faster. If you have a group of five or 10 and their scrolling through tickets, instead of just having one button as [Wicket] recognizes your face and you’re not taking your phone out of your pocket, we thought that was a great thing to have.”
Mets VP of Technology Solutions
“They’re used to doing [facial recognition] in other aspects of their life, whether it’s opening your phone or going to the airport and using your face to get into the gate. It’s becoming more visible and more secure.”
Fans can still have their mobile tickets scanned on their phones to enter Citi Field. In fact, fans 13-and-under are not eligible to use Wicket’s system given New York State’s age laws on facial recognition deployment. The Mets say photos are not stored on Wicket’s devices and data will not be shared or sold to any third parties.
“The face is taken and turned into numbers. We’re not actually storing it, it’s just a designation of what that unique face is,” Fernandez said. “We know there’s going to be a slow adoption to a point, some people will always be fearful of technology. There’s [also] going be some FOMO where you see someone just use their face to walk in and you’re waiting while watching it happen. You’ll want to see what that’s about. We’re committed to it, we think there will be adoption over time.”
Other teams to use Wicket’s facial ticketing include the NFL’s Cleveland Browns and the Columbus Crew in MLS. The Mets’ partnership with Wicket includes plans to explore implementing facial recognition in other areas at Citi Field.
“We have a long-term roadmap to look at things like facial payments. So you go up to the concession stand and you can securely pay with your face,” Fernandez says.
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