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Facial Recognition Ticketless Entry Expands To Another Major League Baseball Stadium

The Houston Astros will roll out facial recognition software to give fans the ‘convenience’ of entering Minute Maid Park without a physical ticket.

The Astros are the latest MLB franchise to utilize the optional, for now, “Go-Ahead Entry” system to enter the venue through a special line after security.

Facial Recognition Ticketless Entry, Coming to a Professional Sports Venue Near You

Fans who sign up for the biometric ticketless entry will have it available at Minute Maid Park on opening day.

ABC13 Houston reports:

ABC13 spoke to some Astros fans who seem to be on board with the change.

"We definitely don't want to wait in line when it's hot," one fan said. "There's always something. Welcome to the future," another fan said.

Houston will become one of four major league teams to use the new software. Go-Ahead Entry was first tested by the Philadelphia Phillies last season, and the plan is for every team to use it throughout 2024.

Fans can register by downloading the MLB Ballpark app. Users take a photo of themselves through the app, which is converted into a digital token used to authenticate their likeness as they walk through the gates, according to MLB officials.

You only have to take the photo once, and it will be used throughout the season. Officials said the images of fans aren't stored or shared.

"The Astros will debut the technology at the March 25-26 exhibition games against the Sugar Land Space Cowboys at Minute Maid Park," Chron reports.

The outlet noted facial recognition technology has slowly been introduced into MLB stadiums for several seasons.

How long until facial recognition ticketless entry is mandatory?

Per Chron:

Facial recognition has existed at a number of ballparks in different forms prior to its official use by Major League Baseball. The New York Mets were the first MLB club to implement the technology, using a third-party vendor called Wicket to grant players and staff access to Citi Field at the start of the 2021 season. As the year went on, the Mets expanded facial recognition fast-access to season-ticket holders and later opened it up to all fans for the start of 2022 season.

Unlike the Mets' Wicket program, the Astros' technology is synced to the MLB Ballpark App. Fans who want to use the technology at Minute Maid Park can register on the MLB Ballpark app and will take a selfie that is then converted into a numerical code, or token, that will be associated with the fan's account. When the fan walks through the "Go-Ahead Entry Lane," the facial authentication camera scans the fan's face to match with the registered tokens.


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