The Mercedes-Benz Arena, home to National Football League’s Atlanta Falcons (NFL) and Major League Soccer’s (MLS) Atlanta United, is set to go cashless when the latter returns to action this weekend.
The venue, which opened in 2017, was the setting for United’s 2-0 victory over Portland in the MLS Cup final in December, and also hosted the Super Bowl last month, recording 76,446 individual on-site payments.
AMB Sports and Entertainment Group, the stadium operator which owns both major tenants, claims transitioning to cashless transactions allows it to move away from its whole-dollar unit pricing model, which was initially instituted to help speed transaction times.
Going cashless also allows greater flexibility for AMB to adjust prices on food and beverage options more regularly, creating the opportunity to lower prices incrementally versus keeping prices static.
The move sees Falcons and United home games go completely digital for payments meaning concession purchases can only be made via card or mobile payment. The system would remain in place for food and drink purchases during other events at the venue.
The venue will implement its stadium-wide cashless transaction model starting when United host FC Cincinnati in their first home fixture of the new MLS season on Sunday.
According to local reports, for visitors without cards or mobile payment devices ten kiosks will be installed across each level of the stadium, where cash can be loaded onto prepaid Visa debit cards. Those cards then can be used for purchases inside the stadium and anywhere Visa is accepted.
“As we’ve always said, it is incumbent on us to listen and respond to our fans and we’ve heard that value, quality and speed of service are incredibly important,” said Steve Cannon, AMB Group chief executive.
“Therefore, we’ve again made operational adjustments that address each of these areas. Our fans are our most important influencers and we want to ensure they have the level of service they’ve come to expect from Mercedes-Benz Stadium.”
In January, Major League Baseball’s (MLB) Tampa Bay Rays became the first major US sports franchise to announce its stadium, Tropicana Field, would be going cash-free. However, as the MLS season begins before the MLB season, Mercedes-Benz Stadium will be first to implement a cash-free operation at games.
AMB has also announced it is to cut prices on five Mercedes-Benz Arena menu items by US$0.50 cents, including hot dogs, which was the top selling item during Super Bowl LIII, continuing the operator’s drive for low food and drink costs that has seen increased spend at the venue year-on-year.