Wicket fields biometric fan access for baseball’s NY Mets, Incode signs up soccer teams
The biggest new addition of major league baseball’s offseason for the New York Mets may be biometric access control for fans, provided by Wicket.
The team demonstrated its facial recognition ticketing system, built on Wicket’s Entry Express, at Citi Field ahead of the 2022 Major League Baseball season’s opening, Sports Business Journal writes.
Participating fans upload a selfie to MLB.com for biometric comparison, in an expansion of a system piloted at VIP gates for about 20 games last season.
“We thought this is one of many components to get fans in faster,” Mets VP of Technology Solutions Oscar Fernandez was quoted as saying by the Journal. “If you have a group of five or 10 and their scrolling through tickets, instead of just having one button as [Wicket] recognizes your face and you’re not taking your phone out of your pocket, we thought that was a great thing to have. They’re used to doing [facial recognition] in other aspects of their life, whether it’s opening your phone or going to the airport and using your face to get into the gate. It’s becoming more visible and more secure.”
Fernandez said he expects some fans to be hesitant to adopt the biometric access control method, but that those who see others using it for fast entry will feel that they are missing out.
The system cannot be used by fans under 14 years of age, due to New York state laws.
In the longer term, the Mets and Wicket expect to use biometrics for other applications, such as concessions payments.
Wicket CEO and Co-founder Sanjay Manandhar told Biometric Update in late-2021 that the first step for spectator entertainment businesses like baseball teams in using biometrics is to know who is actually attending the events.
Incode updates biometric platform, strikes deal with Mexican soccer clubs
The company has also signed up Orlegi Sports, owner of Mexican teams Atlas FC, Santos Laguna, and TM Football Club, for its Fan ID program. The deployment of digital identity verification, live as of April 3, aligns with regulations recently announced by the Mexican Soccer League (Liga MX) and Mexico’s Soccer Federation to curb fan violence.
Fans using the Biotrust platform gain entry by scanning their digital ticket and face biometrics.
“The use of AI to verify someone’s identity can completely revolutionize how people attend events,” says Ricardo Amper, CEO and founder of Incode. “It’s now time to change the processes we’ve had in place for years – from paper tickets to long wait times – and give people safe, seamless and enjoyable experiences.”
Amper emphasizes the potential for seamless entry with biometrics and the importance keeping individuals first by building consent into the process in the platform update announcement.