Golden 1 Center, home of the Sacramento Kings NBA basketball franchise, is to open a checkout-free convenience store through a partnership with Zippin, while a similar outlet will launch at Polar Park, the future home of Minor League Baseball outfit the Worcester Red Sox.

The Red Sox have partnered with Standard Cognition on the initiative, with the tech startup claiming the store will be the world’s first autonomous checkout store in a professional sports and entertainment venue.

Polar Park will open in April 2021 and serve as the home of the Red Sox, which is an affiliate of Major League Baseball’s Boston Red Sox. The store will be located near centrefield at Polar Park and will sell snacks, drinks and souvenirs.

Standard Cognition’s artificial intelligence and machine vision technology will be harnessed to allow customers to shop and pay without scanning, waiting in line or stopping to check out.

The company uses ceiling-mounted cameras and proprietary AI and machine vision software to associate each shopper with the items they pick up, without the need for facial recognition or any other biometrics. Fans will be given the chance to pay via the Standard or Polar Park apps, or visit a kiosk in-store to pay with cash or a credit or debit card.

Larry Lucchino, principal owner and chairman of the Red Sox, said: “We are pleased to be the first to introduce this innovative technology at a ballpark.

“We have long sought to reduce time spent waiting in lines in our venues and Standard Cognition’s autonomous checkout technology will do just that. We look forward to this enhancement at Polar Park and expanding it to other ballparks and stadiums around the country.”

Golden 1 Center, meanwhile, claims its shop will be the world’s first in-arena checkout-free convenience store. The store will be located at the Southwest entrance of Golden 1 Center and will be open during Kings games and concerts at the arena.

From next month, fans and guests at the arena will be given the chance to purchase food and beverage items such as popcorn, draft beer and other snacks and drinks. Like Standard, Zippin uses AI technology with cameras and sensors to identify who bought what as shoppers walk around the store.

Fans will be able to use the Sacramento Kings + Golden 1 Center app and/or the Zippin app to visit the store, take items off the shelves and exit without waiting or scanning the items. Their receipt will then appear on the app.

Zippin’s technology also provides inventory tracking to allow concessionaires to re-stock at the right intervals and maximise sales conversion. The company keeps an accurate count of all products on every shelf in the store, with guests able to use the Kings or Zippin app to browse what is available in the store from anywhere.

Kings chairman and governor Vivek Ranadivé said: “We are committed to leveraging technology to identify and deliver cutting-edge, innovative solutions that enhance the fan experience.

“Using AI-driven checkout-free technology we are excited to deliver a first-of-its-kind frictionless shopping experience ensuring our guests are able to get back to the action as quickly as possible.”

Image: Golden 1 Center