Mercedes-Benz Stadium will convert to cashless operation

You will no longer be able to spend money buying a sausage or a beer at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Downtown Atlanta venue will be a cashless operation, one of the first two major US stadiums to do so.

It will stop accepting money within the gates that begin with Atlanta United's home opener on Sunday, and require payment for food, beverages, and credit card, debit, or mobile payment services such as Apple Pay. The policy will also be in effect at Falcons games, and at least for food and beverages, all other stadium events.

The move to cashless is meant to speed up transactions and shortening waiting for licensing and commodity stores, says Steve Cannon, CEO of Falcons and Atlanta United, the parent company AMB Group, which runs the stadium.

Major League Baseballs Tampa Bay Rays became the first major US sports franchise to announce that the stadium would be cash-free, said in January that Tropicana Field would no longer accept cash and debut the concept of a fan festival last month. But because the football season opens before the baseball season, Mercedes-Benz Stadium will be the first to complete a cash-free operation at stake.

For fans without a credit or debit card, 1[ads1]0 kiosks will be installed, some at each level of the stadium, where cash can be loaded on prepaid Visa debit cards. These cards can then be used for purchase at the stadium. Balances left on the cards can also be used anywhere Visa is accepted.

With the move away from cash, stadium officials said they were dropping their former full dollar pricing policy on license numbers. They announced that prices will be reduced on five concessions with 50 cent pieces, including sausages from $ 2 to $ 1.50 and pretzel bits from $ 5 to $ 4.50.

Especially the price of heat has received a lot of attention since the stadium opened, last at Super Bowl LIII. Furthermore, the price of "our 1-seller item already below market price" confirms a commitment to voluntary pricing, says Greg Beadles, AMB Sports and Entertainment Operations Manager.

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However, during the stadium's previous full-day policy, introduced to increase transaction times, sales tax was included in the stated price for each item. Now the sales fee of 8.9 percent is added to each purchase. It will look up some of the savings from the new price reductions and will effectively mean an 8.9 percent increase in the total cost of goods that hold the same settled price as before.

"We're going to return to what everyone else does in the world and the price of the board is before tax," Beadles said. "And then the tax will be added to your transaction."

The switch to cashless transactions applies to the stadium; For events selling tickets at the ticket office outside the gates, cash can still be used there.

Within the stadium, the only exception to the cashless model may be souvenir sales for any event other than the Falcons and Atlanta United games. The organizers of "third party" events, such as concerts or college football games, will be able to sell their goods for cash if they choose. But the stadium's food and beverage sales will in all cases be unknown, regardless of whether the purchase is made by licensing stands, bars, restaurants or hawkers.

The change follows extensive testing last year, Cannon said. At the end of the Falcons season, about 30 of the stadium's 70 admission stands and bars did not accept money, he said.

Stadium-wide, the percentage of customers who spent money fell from 42 percent at the beginning of the Falcons season to 30 percent at the end, Beadles said. Cash use has been lower in Atlanta United games than Falcons games, he said.

"All we saw in 2018 gave us the confidence to make the decision … to become a cash-free stadium," Cannon said. "For us, this is about speed of service. … This transition to cashless will allow us to transact at a higher level and satisfy demand when demand is there."

Beadles said on average cashless transactions "could be up to 50 on average percent faster than cash transactions. "[19659017] For how participants, especially those who still prefer money, will respond to the change, Cannon said," We don't expect much pushback. "

In addition to speeding up, Cannon said he would pay cash-free will eliminate some costs and complexities, such as counting cash in each drawer and having a guard accompanying the movement of money to a secure room. "Cash handling is a significant cost item that we will now completely remove from the business," Cannon said.

He predicted that the Mercedes-Benz Stadium will be at the start of a trend towards cashless stadiums. Several European football stadiums are cash.

"Our concessionaire, Levy, says this is where it goes," Cannon said.

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