MLB's Tropicana Field becomes first cashless stadium in North America

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Tropicana Field, home to Major League Baseball’s Tampa Bay Rays, officially became the first cashless pro sports stadium in North America on Saturday when it unveiled the tech-enhanced transaction process at a free-admission fan event.

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The team said its concession stands, team stores ticket office and all other points-of-sale will feature cashless transactions. Fans can make use of various payment options, including credit cards, gift cards and mobile payment apps such as Apple Pay. The new system means that any fan without an approved payment method on hand will have to exchange their cash for gift cards.

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"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," Rays Vice President of Strategy & Development William Walsh said in a statement last month. "This change will increase speed of service and reduce lines throughout the ballpark."

The Rays announced the initiative alongside its hospitality partner, Levy, and a tech analytics firm, E15. The ball club said extensive testing showed that cashless payments were completed in up to half the time of a typical cash transaction.

The Rays’ Fan Fest at Tropicana Field will allow fans to try out the cashless system while shopping at several in-stadium venues, including the Rays Republic Team Store, as well as concession stands.

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Cashless payment systems have gained popularity in recent years as a way to improve the fan experience at live events. Visa and the NFL announced earlier this month that they were intent on delivering a fully cashless Super Bowl by the year 2025. Super Bowl LIII at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium featured some cashless venues.

This story was originally published on Feb. 8

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