Face it, getting into a baseball stadium can be a time-consuming hassle. So the Mets are offering a potential solution this season that involves . . . your face.
In what the team said is an MLB first, fans will have the option of registering for facial recognition technology to enter Citi Field in lieu of showing a mobile ticket.
“Why fish for your phone? The idea is to make it as easy as possible to get in,” Oscar Fernandez, the team’s vice president of technology solutions, said on Thursday at the annual “New at Citi Field” event.
“You have your face. It’s already out there. You don’t have to look for it.”
The Mets are partnering with the company Wicket, which last year used the technology for Columbus Crew MLS games and for the Cleveland Browns of the NFL.
Fernandez said the Mets had 300 fans in a pilot program for 20 games last season and most used it every time they entered.
Facial recognition has been used at stadiums for security purposes, but it is expanding into other uses. Fernandez said it can be used to enter stadium clubs with limited access and that it eventually will be used as a form of payment for food and merchandise.
Fans who sign up for facial recognition entry will have the option of using that or a ticket, as they wish.
“We expect there will be some initial adoption for technophiles — people who just love and look for that,” Fernandez said. “We have an adoption campaign to show people what it is, how it works, that it’s safe and secure, your data is protected.”
Fernandez also showed reporters new LED ribbon boards in center and rightfield, part of a significant upgrade in technology around the ballpark. (There will be a new main scoreboard next season.)
The Mets also showed off new food offerings, a new display in the Mets museum highlighting the team’s 60th anniversary season and a new memorabilia shop selling authenticated collectibles.
The memorabilia shop just up the escalator from the Jackie Robinson Rotunda was the brainchild of Alex Cohen, wife of Mets owner Steve, who accompanied reporters on a tour of the stadium and later for lunch.
“It’s going to be wonderful,” she said of the stadium upgrades in a brief interview with Newsday. “It’s going to be a great year. That’s what I can tell you. We’re all going to be very happy.”
Andy Goldberg, the Mets’ chief marking officer, said of Alex Cohen, “It’s awesome to have her as an owner. It’s awesome to have her care. More importantly, it’s great to have her engaged. That store you saw — that’s hers.”