Visa this week extended its sponsorship of the NFL through 2025. The deal keeps Visa as the “official payment services partner” of the league and comes with various perks for Visa cardholders.
But Visa is also using the extension to start teasing one big-picture idea: a cashless Super Bowl.
“We have evolved our relationship with the NFL from a sponsorship to a partnership that provides invaluable payment experiences for fans,” Visa CMO Lynne Biggar said in a press release. “Looking ahead, we see a cashless future for NFL fans where events, including future Super Bowls, are digital, creating a more secure and seamless payment environment for fans and concessionaires alike.”
Only half of the food stands in Mercedes-Benz Stadium that will be open during the Super Bowl are cashless. In other words: Visa still has a long way to go to get a fully cashless host stadium.
“We are working on an architecture that will get us there,” Visa’s chief brand officer Chris Curtin told the AP. “It’s something we are really keen on... That is where our energy is now.”
For now, at this year’s Super Bowl, Visa will have 30 cashless concessions in the stadium as well as an “MVP contactless checkout lane” at the NFL Shop.
Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta is an interesting case study for the cashless conversation: The stadium has uncommonly low food prices that have earned the stadium, and owner Arthur Blank, plaudits from local fans. Hot dogs can be had for $2, domestic beers for $5, and french fries for $3.
The stadium also uses “whole dollar” pricing so that fans never have to worry about receiving coins. As a result, it’s a place where Super Bowl attendees may actually enjoy having cash, since a single $10 bill goes a long way there.
Daniel Roberts is the sports business writer at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @readDanwrite.