Payment in sport ticketing

Sports ticketing has always been under pricing and availability pressures, and subject to the wrath of fans. Increasingly efficient and fraud-proof payment methods mean more of the value of sports tickets and merchandise will remain with venue owners and fans.

Best ways to accept payment at the stadium

Contactless payment

Cashless and contactless payment are becoming a common thing in stadiums. Cashless payment systems are perfect for halftime, as huge numbers of fans rush to purchase beers and snacks as quickly as possible. There are many advantages to offering a cashless payment system during this time crunch, such as a faster moving line for the bar. Cashless payment systems and further RFID technologies (including ticketing, accreditation, entry control, registration systems and more) are becoming essential in stadiums. However, there are still some resistance to integrating this technology.

Proximity Mobile Payment

Proximity mobile payments is a transaction process made through a mobile device at a stationary POS. For this, the payment terminal featuring NFC is required or a mobile POS, a card-reading device connected through a smartphone or tablet.

During the transaction, both devices should be only a few centimeters from one another. NFC is extremely secure and is comparable to other data transmission systems such as bluetooth. After the transaction is completed, the customer receives a printed receipt, or they can opt to receive it through email.

Stadium payment cards

Some stadiums choose to work with a closed system, meaning that the cards used are exclusive to stadium.

The advantage of a closed system is that clubs have complete control over the system and its developments. Therefore, the system can be perfectly adapted to internal changes and develop it further. Only a Wi-Fi connection is necessary to process payments autonomously. Additionally, cards in closed systems offer collection value for fans, as they can be emitted in exclusive design for special events.

A closed system also has some disadvantages. The cards are useless outside of the stadium, which is particularly inconvenient for fans of the visiting team. Often, there is credit left over in the account of the customer after their purchase. This money cannot be spent in any other places. Exchanging the card to receive cash back is often met with questioning. Due to this, FC Bayern Munich had around 2.4 million euros in leftover money on the cards in 2010. In the cases where money on the card is exchanged for cash, high fees are incurred.

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Innovation in payment technologies and venue logistics

With the evolution of location-based technologies, mobile payment systems, and a continual decrease in technology costs, payment in sport ticketing and stadium is changing. The Internet of Things is bringing frictionless experience to sports venues everywhere.

Dynamic pricing

The theory behind dynamic pricing, letting demand set the ticket price, is hardly new. Airlines and hotels have been using it as far back as the 1980s. It's even hit Broadway and other cultural events. Since 2010, sports teams and more leagues have embraced dynamic pricing.

Dynamic ticket pricing has already drastically expanded who attends games. Fans can pay what they want, as often as they want, sitting as close to the action as they can afford. The result is sold-out stadiums, with plenty of cheaper tickets available and an overall revenue increase of 7%.

However, as the season progresses, a scheduled game with another team may lose interest among fans, for example if the visiting team is not playing well or has lost a star player to injury. In order to boost ticket sales, the price is then lowered. On the other hand, a game on the schedule that didn't have much importance can suddenly become popular because the rival team is be playing well or has a rookie player drawing fan interest. Prices may therefore spike. Price changes usually average around 5 to 10 percent, either way. Tickets are then sold online, through the teams' websites, or at the stadium walk-up window, reflecting the rise or fall in price. This pricing flexibility help keep the stadium sold out.

Cryptocurrencies and virtual money

In the future, sports team or league might be launching their own virtual currency. Much like money is traded for chips when entering a casino, fans would use these virtual currencies to pay for their tickets or at the stadium.

An omnichannel loyalty system is a not so distant possibility. Fans could both buy and earn loyalty points convertible into the team’s or league’s virtual currency. The points could be wagered during games, promoting the game on social media would earn the fan more points, and some points could be spent on a better bat for their video game star avatar.

Though it is the most high-profile digital currency to date, Bitcoin is almost certainly NOT the payment technology most fans will end up using, at least not directly. Bitcoin transactions take seven minutes, on average, to clear the system’s multi-party verification process. Nor is Bitcoin optimized for individual micropayments (the legendary low processing charges only materialize for large or aggregated transactions). Instead, the future lies in new layers of payment processing technology built on top of Bitcoin, essentially private currency networks. Between any two customers on these private networks, transferring money is instantaneous and free, or close to it.

The race is on to determine which of the new payment service providers will go mainstream and which will become outdated. Currently, BitPay and Coinbase are the early Visa and American Express of the burgeoning Bitcoin processor industry.

Ticketing payment gateways and service providers

Payment service providers offer various services that differ from provider to provider. Therefore, businesses need to have a clear idea in mind of what services are important to them and the growth of their online shops. For example, for new and growing businesses, addressing topics such as expansion, markets and the possible changing of providers is incredibly important. Here are a few examples of payment gateways and payment service providers working with merchants from the ticketing industry.

The payment gateway Mollie help merchants of the ticketing industry process payments. It is a fully PCI Compliant and secure way to collect payments with credit card, PayPal, iDeal, Bancontact / Mister Cash, SOFORT Banking, Overbooking, Bitcoin, paysafecard and AcceptEmail.

The German payment service provider BS Payone works, among others, with ticketing companies from Austria, Germany and Switzerland. It helps merchants accept payment in a variety of methods online and through point-of-sale solutions.

Worldline help merchants make the most out of digital ticketing with their end-to-end solution, WL Tap2Use. It allows customers to pay in one action using various devices, including contactless bank cards, NFC devices, QR codes or local smart ticketing schemes such as ITSO and Calypso.


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