Visa goes half cashless at Super Bowl

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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 the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Feb. 3, Visa will support contactless payments at 30 concessions, Visa said in a Tuesday press release. That’s about half the total concessions in the stadium, which opened in 2017.

Football’s biggest annual event lags behind Major League Baseball, with the Tampa Bay Rays last week announcing the first cashless sports venue in North America.
A cash-free Super Bowl still may be out of reach, but Visa is working on it. Visa just renewed its 24-year National Football League sponsorship, which includes continuing its role as official payments technology provider to the organization through 2025, Visa said in the release.

The new deal includes plans for Visa and the NFL to collaborate on the first cashless Super Bowl at a future date, though Visa didn’t say when. Miami will host next year’s Super Bowl, and Los Angeles will host in 2021.

“Looking ahead, we see a cashless future for NFL fans where events, including future Super Bowls, are digital creating a more secure and seamless payment environment for fans and concessionaires alike,” said Lynne Biggar, Visa’s chief marketing and communications officer, in the release.

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.

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.

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