MLB testing hands-free entry for fans utilizing facial authentication, AI security

by Sophia Chen
Facial Authentication

Major League Baseball (MLB) is currently conducting trials for a cutting-edge hands-free entry system that employs facial authentication technology, offering a streamlined and secure experience for ticketed fans entering stadiums. This innovative approach aims to eliminate the hassle of retrieving and presenting traditional paper tickets or mobile codes, while also maintaining stringent security measures.

Collaborating with the MLB on this endeavor, the Philadelphia Phillies have taken the lead by implementing a pilot initiative called “Go-Ahead Entry.” This program leverages facial authentication to enable fans with valid tickets to smoothly enter the stadium without encountering time-consuming barriers or prolonged queues.

In contrast to the typical process of navigating a smartphone to access electronic tickets, fans participating in this trial can simply stroll through the entrance gate while their facial features are scanned and authenticated. This technology has garnered significant interest and enthusiasm from fans who appreciate the convenience it brings. Notably, even concerns arising from recent security incidents at sports events have not deterred the positive reception of this advancement.

The groundwork for the Go-Ahead Entry project was laid over a span of more than two years. Its launch on August 21 was marked by Go-Ahead banners at the first base gate, guiding fans towards the new experience. At the Philadelphia Phillies’ home stadium, the entry process was further enhanced by the implementation of AI-powered sensor technology from Evolv. This technology expedites the security screening process, enabling fans to pass through without emptying their bags or undergoing individual checks.

It’s important to emphasize that the focus of this initiative is to enhance the entry process while maintaining rigorous security measures. Senior Vice President of Product at MLB, Karri Zaremba, explained that while the Go-Ahead Entry and Evolv technology are interrelated steps, they are designed to complement each other in creating a seamless and secure environment.

Fans who are 18 years of age and older can enroll in the Go-Ahead Entry program by registering through the designated app and submitting a selfie. The captured image is converted into a unique numerical token, after which the photo is deleted. This process ensures that fans’ privacy is preserved while still enabling a frictionless entry experience. Fans only need to take a photo once, and subsequently, they can effortlessly pass through the entrance gates without needing to stop or present their phones.

The Go-Ahead Entry initiative has received positive feedback from fans, with over 7,000 individuals enrolling ahead of a recent series of games. The Philadelphia Phillies are also open to enhancing the program based on fan sentiment and uptake. Plans to potentially expand this initiative to other ballparks in the upcoming season are under consideration, contingent upon the program’s success and adherence to MLB’s standards.

Despite the technology’s apparent success, the MLB and the Philadelphia Phillies emphasize that the facial authentication system remains distinct from any form of surveillance or monitoring at the stadium. It’s crucial to differentiate between facial authentication and facial recognition technologies. While the former ensures authentication of an individual’s identity for entry, the latter involves scanning crowds for specific individuals, which this program does not perform.

To put it simply, this innovative hands-free entry system is a testament to the MLB’s commitment to improving fan experiences and security measures. It exemplifies a balance between convenience and safety, utilizing cutting-edge technology to transform the way fans enter stadiums while upholding the integrity of the game day experience.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Facial Authentication

What is the purpose of MLB’s facial authentication-based entry system?

MLB’s facial authentication-based entry system aims to provide ticketed fans with a streamlined and convenient way to enter stadiums while maintaining robust safety and security measures.

How does the Go-Ahead Entry program work?

Fans aged 18 and older can enroll in the Go-Ahead Entry program through a designated app. They submit a selfie, which is converted into a unique numerical token. This token is used for authentication during entry, ensuring a frictionless experience without the need to stop or present physical tickets.

How does Evolv’s technology enhance the entry process?

The Philadelphia Phillies have incorporated Evolv Technology, which utilizes AI sensor technology to expedite security screening. Fans can pass through security without emptying bags or undergoing individual checks, contributing to a more efficient entry process.

Is facial authentication the same as facial recognition?

No, facial authentication and facial recognition are distinct technologies. Facial authentication confirms a person’s identity for entry purposes, while facial recognition involves scanning crowds to identify specific individuals. MLB’s system focuses solely on authentication, ensuring fans’ privacy and security.

What happens to the photos taken during enrollment?

Photos submitted for enrollment are stored as numerical tokens and are instantly deleted. These tokens are not connected to any security system, ensuring fans’ comfort and privacy.

Can fans use traditional methods to enter stadiums?

Yes, the facial authentication-based entry system is an optional service. Fans can still use traditional methods such as electronic tickets, but the new system offers a faster and more convenient alternative.

Will this technology be expanded to other ballparks?

If the Go-Ahead Entry program meets MLB’s expectations, there are plans to potentially expand it to other ballparks in the next season, providing more fans with the enhanced entry experience.

How does this technology prioritize security?

While enhancing convenience, the technology prioritizes security through facial authentication and AI sensor technology. It ensures that fans can enjoy a safe and seamless entry process into the stadium.

What sets this system apart from others using facial recognition?

MLB and the Philadelphia Phillies emphasize that their facial authentication system is not facial recognition. It doesn’t scan crowds or share data with law enforcement. The focus is solely on authentication for entry purposes.

How can fans benefit from this innovation?

Fans can benefit from this innovation by enjoying a hassle-free entry experience into the stadium. They no longer need to fumble with tickets or codes, enhancing their overall enjoyment of the game day experience.

More about Facial Authentication

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TechGeek23 September 1, 2023 - 5:05 am

facial authentica-shun for ball games? pretty cool if it works like they say. no more waitin in lines, sign me up!

SportsLover87 September 1, 2023 - 12:10 pm

read about this on AP MLB. not facial recognitshun tho, so no worries bout big brother watchin us. gud move MLB!

ChillinCharlie September 1, 2023 - 5:29 pm

woah, so now tech watches us enter? bit weird but if it keeps us safe while grabbin a hot dog, im in, I guess.

BaseballFan99 September 1, 2023 - 9:54 pm

this tech sounds amazin cant believe they use ur face for tickts no more barcodes yay

GameDayGal September 1, 2023 - 10:24 pm

can’t even imagine waitin to show my phone anymore, lol. just walk in? hope they get it right, could be game-changer.

PhillyPhanatic September 1, 2023 - 11:41 pm

go phils! theyre leadin in wild-card standins and now this fancy face tech too? count me in


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