Tech Stack: checkout-free stores, mobile ordering and more

Featured image credit: Sung Shin on Unsplash

Featured image credit: Sung Shin on Unsplash

With the 2023 Major League Baseball season scheduled to begin today (Thursday), several teams have announced tech-focused initiatives to enhance the fan experience at their ballparks.

The Tampa Bay Rays will introduce a new checkout-free concessions experience to the Budweiser Porch at Tropicana Field. The concept, entitled the Short Stop at the Budweiser Porch, will use technology from checkout-free platform Zippin.

The experience will use high-resolution camera technology and shelf sensors to eliminate the checkout process and dramatically reduce wait times. Fans can validate a payment type upon entry into the store, grab what they want and exit the store without waiting in line.

Meanwhile, integrated payments technology provider Shift4 has been selected by the Baltimore Orioles to power payments at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

Shift4’s end-to-end commerce ecosystem will be used at concession locations across the stadium, including frictionless mobile ordering and payment technologies. Shift4’s integration with Fanatics will also power the retail transactions at Oriole Park’s merchandise locations.

Elsewhere in MLB, social payments platform Cheq has partnered with the Seattle Mariners to deliver premium mobile experiences at T-Mobile Park (pictured).

As part of the agreement, Cheq will power mobile ordering and premium in-seat delivery services inside the Diamond Club and Press Club this season. The Mariners are rolling out a new Comforts Menu inside the club areas, which will feature items such as blankets, phone chargers, sunscreen and gloves to enhance the fan experience.

In the future, Cheq will work with the Mariners to provide a broad mobile order service where fans can select a pickup option for general concessions at T-Mobile Park.

In other news, global sports and entertainment company Oak View Group has announced plans to leverage Cheq’s mobile ordering system at Baltimore’s CFG Bank Arena to enable guests to order food, drinks, merchandise and more from their seats.

In a first for an OVG-owned-and-operated arena, guests seated within premium areas at the arena can have their orders delivered to them at their seat. Cheq becomes the official mobile ordering, delivery and social gifting partner of the arena.

Cheq will also offer OVG Hospitality customers a range of mobile pick-up points to enjoy food selections at CFG Bank Arena. Guests at the arena will also be able to send food, beverages, merchandise and experiences to their friends and family in real time through Cheq’s social gifting marketplace.

Global technology and business solutions provider NTT has extended its title sponsor deal with IndyCar, with the multi-year agreement also including official technology partner status.

NTT has been the title sponsor of the IndyCar Series since 2019 and will continue in the role until 2024. The deal includes a commitment to transforming Indianapolis Motor Speedway into a smart venue through the use of AI-enabled optical detection technologies and real-time entry gate flow rate data.

The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) has announced plans to introduce an innovative glass flooring court during this year’s U19 Women’s Basketball World Cup in Spain.

The LumiFlex court provided by ASB GlassFloor is a full video floor allowing for interactive applications as well as an enhanced show staging with additional options for advertising. The flooring can also add player tracking, making it possible to display live stats and athletic achievements on the court.

The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has introduced Escoita, a descriptive commentary feature in its official app that will enhance the match-day experience for blind fans.

The feature was trialled during Spain’s recent Euro 2024 qualifier win against Norway in Malaga, and will be used for a total of seven matches. The commentary was integrated with an ambient stadium sound.

Stadium MK, home of English League One football club MK Dons, has been fitted with an electric vehicle charging hub courtesy of Allego.

The hub is located on the west side of the stadium and will allow for visitors, as well as residents and passing traffic, to charge their electric vehicle. The hub features six ultra-fast charge points, which have been designed and configured to be fully accessible for all drivers, including wheelchair users.