Most sport fans have experienced the long queues at stadiums – at the entrance when buying tickets, or inside buying food, drinks, or your favourite player’s jersey. And then you hear the loud cheer from pitch side, missing the crucial action while you’re stuck in line.

By Daneel Jordaan, senior director: core products at Visa SSA and acting country manager for Visa South Africa

In the stadium of the future fans won’t miss the action as they will spend less time in line and more time focused on their favourite team on the pitch.

At present, digital contactless payments and other innovative smartphone-based solutions are paving the way for faster payments and therefore shorter queues, as well as an overall better stadium experience.


How electronic payments are hitting a home run today

The last few years have witnessed dramatic changes in the payment industry with the rise of digital payments. These changes are going to accelerate as more people around the world use contactless cards and smartphones to pay each day. Merchants, in stadiums and elsewhere, can now accept payments in a multitude of ways, including scanning a QR code, contactless cards, wearables, and digital wallets. An analysis of spending inside the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia stadiums from the opening match on June 14 through the semi-finals on July 11 shows the increased consumer adoption of innovative payment technology. Half of purchases with Visa in tournament venues utilized contactless transactions, including cards, mobile devices and wearables. In today’s world software and services turn almost any locale or any device into a potential POS and the era of single-purpose transaction terminals is coming to a close. This is part of one of the major trends identified by Visa in the sector as “everything as a point-of-sale (POS)”.This also presents new opportunities to displace cash while building relationships and rewarding customer loyalty.

Visa, as a proud partner of the Total Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2019, kicking off on 21 June in Egypt, will bring these innovations to the country and the fans coming to watch the soccer. The sponsorship deal with the Confédération Africaine de Football (CAF) makes the global leader in payments the exclusive payment services provider at some venues during the Total AFCON tournaments in 2019 and 2021.


The future of electronic payments in sports

Visa, along with its partners around the world, are developing innovative ways to put the fan at the centre of the action and evolve the stadium experience. In the near future, the Visa Venues solution will allow fans to – among other things – avoid the massive queues usually associated with packed stadiums by ordering food and beverages from in their seat or to preview and pre-book any manner of available services including parking facilities and memorabilia.

Through their phones, fans will also be able to benefit instantly from their loyalty programs, navigate around the stadium, easily find sales points and even locate a local bar or neighbourhood restaurant for an after-game refreshment.  Various solutions can also be integrated with partner discounts or offers, social media networks so fans can share their experiences in real time, and any manner of connected services. Visa is excited about the current and future innovation possibilities in this space and will continue to offer sports fans payment experiences that allow them to get back to their seats as quickly as possible through its reliable and secure payment network.