As of today, the only NFL team operating on game day without cash is the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz stadium. However, there is an emerging trend of cashless sporting events and the Super Bowl may be added to that list next year. Additionally, the Tottenham Hotspur stadium in London, which will host NFL games, opened cashless in April of this year, and Baltimore Ravens President, Dick Cass, is looking to move towards cashless transactions for the 2020 season. It is likely that many others will follow suit.
The biggest sporting event to consider cashless transactions is the Super Bowl. The 2020 Super Bowl will be hosted in Miami and Miami Dolphins CEO, Tom Garfinkel, said, “[We’ve] been doing a lot of research now and contemplating a cashless Super Bowl.” Cass said that the advantage to NFL fans using only credit cards or payment apps is that the “concession lines would be faster, once people get accustomed to it.” Cass believes that “it’s inevitable at some point that we have almost all cashless transactions.” This seems like it may be a problem for those without bank accounts or credit cards, however the Falcons have addressed that issue by installing reverse ATMs in their stadium, which provide a debit card for purchases for those who only have cash. It is also likely that team payment apps is the next step.
Other downsides? For fans, there will certainly be a loss of privacy. As more and more teams gather precise data about what the individual fan purchased and when, it will allow teams to target those individuals with greater precision and directed ads. Cash permitted fans to make purchases without any tracking involved. Can this information be used against you in other ways? Can this information be subpoenaed? We have certainly seen these issues pop up with other data hubs and mobile apps. We’ll follow this trend as we approach the opening of NFL training camps and the start of the football season.