One positive externality of the COVID-19 pandemic has been to accelerate the growth of payment technology. While there was a time that boomers and luddites refused to give up their cash and checkbooks the threat of illness has caused them to change their ways. Now even backwards thinking entities like the Nevada gaming regulatory bodies are looking for ways to go ‘cash free’.
Professional sports teams have been at the forefront of trying to figure out ways to eliminate cash from the live game experience. Not only is it nasty, it is time consuming and adds to the degree of difficulty when it comes to accounting. Not long after the COVID-19 pandemic began companies began to pop up offering solutions to the problem of accepting cash. One such company is UK based Tappit which bills itself as ‘the global payment and data ecosystem for sports, events, stadiums and venues’. The UK is on the cutting edge of financial technology while the US lags behind much of the world. Fortunately, the demands of COVID-19 weary consumers is forcing them to move into the 21st Century.
Most recently, Tappit has announced that they’ve partnered with the NBA San Antonio Spurs to convert the AT&T Center into a ‘cash free’ facility. This is their first partnership with a NBA team though they work with the NFL Jacksonville Jaguars and Kansas City Chiefs along with a number of European sports teams. The focal point of the program is ‘SpursPay’ which will allow fans to pay with their cellphones for food, drinks and merch. Here’s a description of how the process will work from a press release announcing the deal:
Tappit will provide its white-label mobile payment technology for fans through the Spurs official app, which will allow fans to make purchases using only their cell phone. Fans can link their preferred payment method to the app to enjoy a frictionless experience at concession and merchandise stands throughout the stadium to purchase food, drinks and merchandise quickly and efficiently. It also makes it easier than ever for teams to connect with fans, as those using the app also receive personalized vouchers, incentives and loyalty points. Most importantly, the data and insights delivered by the platform will help the Spurs maximize the fan experience and ensure operations are as efficient as possible.
Look for more teams to get into the ‘cash free’ game either with Tappit or another provider. It’s safer, cleaner, easier for fans and easier for the team to keep track of revenues.