Major League Soccer expansion franchise Austin FC has partnered with payments and digital solutions provider Netspend to enhance the game-day experience at its new stadium.

Austin FC is due to enter MLS next year and will play at a purpose-built 20,500-seat stadium. The club has today (Thursday) signed a wide-ranging, multi-year agreement with Austin-based Netspend, which becomes a founding partner and the official sleeve sponsor of the franchise.

Netspend also becomes the official digital payment partner of Austin FC and the official prepaid debit Mastercard provider of the club. As part of the agreement, Netspend products and affiliated technologies will be integrated into the stadium to enhance the speed and safety of food, beverage and merchandise transactions.

Netspend’s services will enable fans to go to their seats more quickly while protecting sensitive payment data through advanced devices and end-to-end encryption. The company will also work with Austin FC on a range of community-focused programmes to support the Austin and Central Texas region.

Kelley Knutson, president of Netspend, said: “We’re thrilled for the opportunity to share our scalable financial solutions with major sports venues starting with Austin FC, our newest hometown team.

“Netspend is working with Austin FC to implement its end-to-end processing platform, which will integrate digital and physical payment solutions to create cashless transaction experiences for fans at the new state-of-the-art stadium.”

Austin FC is yet to secure a naming-rights sponsor for its new home, which is due to open in time for the start of the 2021 MLS season. Austin will become the first major-league team in the Texan city.

Work on the Austin FC stadium began in September 2019. The club recently partnered with US audiovisual systems company Daktronics to fit an LED ‘supersystem’ at the stadium, while Boingo Wireless will provide Wi-Fi 6 and cellular services at the venue.