Tropicana Field is set to make history in the 2019 season by becoming the first professional sports venue to be cash-free.
This follows on the heels of many MLB stadiums switching to digital-only tickets, and continues a trend of a more future-focused, cash and paper free way of teams doing business.
What this means for fans visiting Tropicana Field this coming season is that the concessions, team store, and even the box office will all be cash free. During the pilot test of this program, it was found that by eliminating cash, transaction times at the stadium were cut in half, allowing lines to move faster and general increasing fan satisfaction.
Fans will still be able to use all major credit cards, Apple or Samsung Pay, and their Season Ticket Holder Rays cards. For those who do not have credit cards, there are other options, like purchasing gift cards from any retail location. The cards, available in $10 or $20 increments, will be accepted at all vendors throughout the stadium, but at this time there is no was to get a return on unused credits.
The E15, the group who led the testing of the pilot program seemed optimistic that the change would run smoothly. E15’s CEO Jamie Faulkner said, “By offering fans a variety of forms of electronic payment, coupled with the ability to exchange cash for gift cards, we can ensure that fans are having frictionless experiences and getting back to enjoy the game.”
There will, of course, be push back on this. By focusing on cash-free, the team is clearly hoping to create a smooth and speedy fan experience. However this ignores how restrictive this can be for low-income households who may not have access to credit cards, and are not in a position to load cards with cash they won’t get back later.
The initial test of the new program will be February 9 at Fan Fest, and by regular season it will be fully implemented.