6 ways Super Bowl LIII is changing the payments game

Game day is a big day not just for athletes — anyone who sells pizza, chicken wings and beer will also win big if they have the capacity to handle all of the orders that come in on Feb. 3. Many are turning to mobile and online technology to increase sales and remove friction from the payment process.

But the innovations go well beyond food sales. Companies like Uber and Visa are using the Super Bowl to promote programs and technologies such as Uber Rewards and Visa contactless payments.

All told, it's a day not just for football fans, but for anyone invested in digital payments.

Pizza (and pot?) deliveries go digital
Domino's pizza app
Franchisee Tom Peterson demonstrates a new Domino's Pizza Inc. app, part of their digital ordering system, at a Domino's "pizza theater" location in Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S., on Friday, Feb. 20, 2015. Domino's, which is scheduled to report quarterly earnings on Feb. 24, has rolled out new menu items and "pizza theater" restaurants that let customers see how their food is prepared. Photographer: Craig Warga/Bloomberg *** Local Caption *** Tom Peterson
On Super Bowl Sunday Americans are expected to consume more than 12.5 million pizzas, and many of those will be digitally ordered, statistics from the major chains indicate.

Domino’s sells nearly 2 million pizzas and 4 million chicken wings Super Bowl Sunday. According to QSR magazine, Domino’s currently sells more through its digital channels than it does in phone orders or walk-ins, with plans to eventually get to 100 percent of sales by e-commerce.

Papa John’s expects to sell 1 million pizzas that day, and on average its digital sales account for 55 percent of its total orders. Not to be outdone, Pizza Hut expects to sell 1.5 million pies nationwide. During Super Bowl 50, Pizza Hut reported that mobile purchases accounted for 60 percent of all digital sales and approximately one-third of total sales.

Since pizza is such a big hit for the Super Bowl, some companies are taking advantage of Americans’ desire for a fresh slice. According to Pizza Magazine, the Mt. Hood Cannabis Co. in Mount Hood, Oregon, has partnered with Mogul Mountain Pizza to deliver a free cheese or pepperoni pizza with the purchase and delivery of any half-ounce of pot over the Super Bowl weekend.
Beer gets its own delivery bump
Coors Light kegs for the Super Bowl
Miniature Coors Light kegs, with the Super Bowl XXXIX logo, are seen in a beer distributorship in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Friday, February 4, 2005. Beyond its appeal as a stage for entertainers and a playing field for athletes, the National Football League's title game is a global financial magnet. Whether for advertising, television rights, betting, ticket prices or parties, it may trigger more spending than any other annual, one-game championship in sports. Mike Mergen/Bloomberg News.
More than half of Americans plan to serve beer at Super Bowl parties this year, according to a survey by Pizza Hut, which will deliver beer to customers' homes for first time during this year's Super Bowl.

The new service went live in 300 restaurants in Florida, Iowa, Nebraska, North Carolina and Ohio in recent weeks, with locations added in Arizona and California, where Pizza Hut has been testing beer delivery for a little over a year.

Orders must be placed online or through the Pizza Hut app, using a credit or debit card or a Pizza Hut gift card, the company said, noting it plans to expand beer delivery to 1,000 restaurants around the U.S. by this summer.

Same-day liquor delivery is on the rise in general, according to Thirstie, an e-commerce and logistics firm that specializes in e-commerce solutions for large liquor brands.

Thirstie typically sees a surge of demand for home liquor delivery four or five days before the Super Bowl, and this year is no different, said Devaraj Southworth, Thirstie’s CEO.

The New York-based company, founded in 2013, uses APIs to connect both liquor brands and retailers, while supporting delivery and payments. Thirstie supports liquor delivery within one hour in 20 U.S. cities, and three days in most states.
A big day for local restaurants
Traffic and pedestrians travel along Peachtree Street in downtown Atlanta, Georgia on Monday, May 15, 2006. Atlanta, fighting the worst surge in congestion of any U.S. city, has a throwback solution to the traffic problem: Run a streetcar up and down Peachtree Street, its most famous thoroughfare. Photographer: Erik S. Lesser/Bloomberg News.
Super Bowl fans eat a lot of food during the game, and while pizza is popular, it’s not necessarily the top choice of game-day meal in every market. Cardlytics, a merchant-funded rewards provider, used its visibility into 20 billion annual card transaction in the U.S. to spotlight which restaurants see the biggest uptick around the Super Bowl.

During the week prior to the Super Bowl in 2017 and 2018, Cardlytics studied how much consumers spent in key restaurant categories, and compared that against annual averages between January 2017 and January 2019.

During the week surrounding the 2018 Super Bowl (Philadelphia Eagles versus the New England Patriots in Minneapolis), pizza sales soared 187 percent above average in the Boston area. In Los Angeles, sales at taco restaurants saw the biggest uptick around last year's Super Bowl game, up 37 percent above normal.

Atlanta's chicken restaurants are seeing significantly stronger sales so far this year, and last year chicken joints saw sales spike 19 percent during Super Bowl week versus the previous year, Cardlytics said.
Uber's plan to win over the losers
Uber driver sticker
The Uber Technologies Inc. logo is seen on the windshield of a vehicle in New York, U.S., on Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018. New York's city council dealt a political blow to Uber Technologies Inc. and other app-based car-for-hire companies by approving a one-year industry wide cap on new licenses and giving the city Taxi & Limousine Commission authority to set minimum pay standards for drivers. Photographer: John Taggart/Bloomberg
Capitalizing on consumers’ overindulgence on Super Bowl Sunday — and the likelihood that fans of the losing team will want to drown their sorrows — Uber is promoting its ride-sharing service by offering free rides for 60 minutes after the game ends to fans of the losing team. Uber is calling the program the “Unhappy Hour.”

To qualify for the free ride, a consumer needs to be in the city of the losing team and an Uber Rewards member. According to Uber’s blog, the Unhappy Hour promo code and message will appear in the app on gameday for residents of Los Angeles and Boston.

The effort is all part of an advertising campaign to promote Uber Rewards, which has recently expanded to 25 major cities and regions after it launched in November 2018 to combat increasing competitive pressure from Lyft. According to a December report in Bloomberg, Lyft had 28 percent share of the U.S. market, twice the amount it had in 2016. Lyft also has its own Business Rewards program.
Visa's vision of a cashless stadium
visa contactless debit card
Visa Inc. and contactless payment logos sit on a debit card in this arranged photograph, in London, U.K., on Friday, May 22, 2015. Credit and debit cards that can be used by tapping the reader are gaining users, and mobile apps are set to further boost the popularity of contactless paying. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg
Visa for years has used its sponsorship of the Super Bowl to promote contactless and mobile payments, but it hasn’t squeezed cash out of the event yet.

During Super Bowl LIII at Atlanta's Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Visa will support contactless payments at 30 checkout points, or half of the facility's concessions. A fully cashless Super Bowl is still out of reach, but Visa has renewed its 24-year National Football League sponsorship, with plans to collaborate with the NFL on the first cashless Super Bowl at a future date.

In addition to contactless payments at about half of this year's Super Bowl stadium concessions, Visa is enabling an express contactless-only checkout lane at two NFL merchandise shops within the stadium during the game. This week NFL stars including the New York Giants' Saquon Barkley demonstrated contactless payments at the Super Bowl's NFL Shop.

Visa also is providing an interactive augmented reality game for game attendees that simulates a smooth checkout. Participants can take turns “kicking” simulated purchases through virtual goal posts.
Ticket scammers don't take the day off
Need 2Tix sign
Jason McClure stands Friday, Nov. 17, 2006, across the street from Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio, with a foam cooler lid sign looking to buy tickets to the Ohio State-Michigan game Saturday. Tickets for the game are surpassing those for the World Series and matching lower-end Super Bowl tickets on Internet resale sites. (Photo by Gary Gardiner)
A single ticket to see the Super Bowl in Atlanta costs about $3,000, and every year the tickets are prone to theft and counterfeiting. This week a former Microsoft executive pleaded guilty in a scheme involving fraudulent online sales of $1 million in tickets to the 2017 Super Bowl.

Forter, a New York-based fintech firm whose technology blocks e-commerce fraud at the checkout, said that as Super Bowl ticket sales for this year's event surged in January, so did fraud attacks. During the week of Jan. 21, Super Bowl ticket sales spiked 65 percent and fraud attacks also rose.

A New York-based fraud ring (or an individual) attempted to buy $10,000 worth of Super Bowl tickets last week, using a trick that involved altering the IP address to fake their location, and frequently changing personal account details to avoid detection, according to a report by Forter. As of Feb. 1, Forter had specifically blocked more than $112,000 of fraudulent Super Bowl ticket sales.