MLB’s Tampa Bay Rays have unveiled plans to make Tropicana Field the first cash-free sports venue in North America.
Tropicana Field’s concessions, team stores, box office, and all other points-of-sale will operate cash-free in 2019.
The move, in collaboration with hospitality partner Levy and analytics and emerging tech firm E15, follows extensive pilot testing engineered and led by E15 at Tropicana Field and venues nationwide to measure the effects of cash-free transactions.
These tests found that transitioning to cash-free environments results in an average transaction time of up to half that of traditional environments that accept cash, resulting in faster moving lines and increased fan satisfaction.
Forms of payment accepted at concession stands and retail stores inside the ballpark will include major credit cards, Rays gift cards, NFC mobile payments such as Apple Pay and Samsung Pay, and Season Ticket Holder Rays Cards.
For fans without electronic forms of payment, cash can be exchanged for gift cards in any amount at all retail locations and in $10 or $20 increments through roaming gift card vendors.
Tropicana Field’s parking operations will also be cash-free, as they were for the 2018 season.
Rays vice president of strategy & development William Walsh said:
We have made significant investments each year to improve the ballpark experience for fans, including an overhaul of our approach to food and beverage since the beginning of our partnership with Levy.
This change will increase speed of service and reduce lines throughout the ballpark.
Jaime Faulkner, CEO of E15, added:
Throughout our testing last season at Tropicana Field, we saw that fans quickly adapted to cash-free environments and loved the resulting benefits to the game-day experience.
By offering fans a variety of forms of electronic payment, coupled with the ability to exchange cash for gift cards, we can ensure that fans are having frictionless experiences and getting back to enjoy the game.
Fan Fest on February 9 will be the first cash-free event at Tropicana Field in 2019. A free event, fans are invited to shop at the Rays Baseball Foundation’s Yard Sale, as well as the Rays Republic Team Store and auxiliary shops during Fan Fest.
Several concession stands will also be open and will accept digital payments.