Improving the fan experience is a task the Philadelphia Phillies take very seriously.
Just this past offseason, they implemented the new scoreboard in left field, the improved sound system around the stadium, and the stepped up options at the concession stands. Last night, the Phillies debuted another new addition to Citizens Bank Park.
The latest edition – “Go-Ahead Entry,” – is a new way for Phans to enter the ballpark. When paired with the MLB Ballpark app, fans are able to enter the Go-Ahead lane, where they will not have to stop to scan their tickets. The system will automatically sign everyone in and has created a new, streamlined approach to entering the ballpark.
A New Process in Philadelphia
So you may be thinking to yourself, “How exactly does all this work?”
Using a combination of free-flowing security and facial recognition technology, fans are now able to stroll through this lane at Citizens Bank Park.
Fans will have to download the MLB Ballpark App and register for the Go-Ahead feature. This feature will ask you to take a selfie that registers with your ticket and will be used only for entering the stadium.
Once you have the photo uploaded, as long as you or a friend/family member have the ticket on the app, you can simply walk right in.
The best part? If you’re in a group, as long as you walk in together, the ticket will scan for every member of your party.
I compare this to using an E-ZPass when you’re driving down I-95. You simply enter the lane and drive right through. You might have to slow down a little bit depending on traffic (or in this case foot traffic), but overall it is a smooth system.
Why Citizens Bank Park and the Phillies?
I had the opportunity to speak with Karri Zaremba, the Senior Vice President of Ballpark Experience & Ticketing for Major League Baseball.
I asked Karri about the process and development that went into this project and asked why the Phillies were the first stadium to pilot this new innovation.
She talked about how Major League Baseball has always had a strong working relationship with the Phillies organization and Citizens Bank Park. The opportunity presented itself and they were happy to test this new idea here in Philadelphia.
She mentioned that this is only the beginning and that for the remainder of the season, this new ticket lane will be used to test out the process.
The Phillies and Major League Baseball want to enhance the fan experience, so they are going to tinker with the system, as well as take fan feedback into account.
I also got to speak with Sean Walker, the Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of the Phillies. I dove into more of the finer details of the software and technology of the system when speaking with Sean.
“We’re excited that MLB’s Go-Ahead Entry is making its debut at Citizens Bank Park, allowing our fans to be the first to opt-in and experience a one-of-a-kind, hands-free entry into the ballpark,” said Sean Walker, Phillies Vice President, and Chief Technology Officer.
One of the big takeaways from that conversation was that this system is completely private. For those who are concerned about the facial recognition process, there will be no data kept whatsoever. You do not have to worry about having your privacy being breached and this system is 100% safe and personable.
Despite this, even if a fan is still not comfortable with using this means of entering, Citizens Bank Park is not getting rid of the current model that has been in place for the last few seasons.
You can still choose to enter a normal line to scan your ticket with an usher before walking through the turnstiles and into Citizens Bank Park.
Give it a Try!
I was able to test the new lane out myself on Monday night, and it was very simple and effortless.
With the ballpark app installed on my phone, I uploaded a selfie that paired itself with my ticket. I then walked through the gate where my ticket was scanned, and I was in.
Set up is a breeze. Simply go to your Ballpark App and enroll with the Go-Ahead feature before heading into the stadium. There will be plenty of wonderful Phillies employees available to help you out if you have any questions and soon, thousands of fans will be able to flow right through.
The Phillies are winning on and off the field, and are continuing to make the experience at Citizens Bank Park one of a kind.
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)