(Photo by Flickr user Keith Allison, used under a Creative Commons license)
Oriole Park at Camden Yards opened the gates for the first time in 2019 on Thursday afternoon as the Baltimore Orioles got the season underway.
With the new season, the Orioles are introducing biometrics at the ballpark: Oriole Park at Camden Yards is joining a group of other Major League Baseball stadiums who have partnerships with Clear this season.
Using fingerprint and iris scans as identification, Clear enrolls members in its program that offers a chance to move closer to the front of a line to get into the stadium. Fans who are in the program can get access to a “Clear Lane” at Gate C. This does not allow fans to bypass security, but members can move up to the front of the line ahead of security screening. There’s no additional charge to enroll in the service.
Clear has a broader partnership with Major League Baseball, and is rolling out biometric ticketing at some ballparks. This allows fingerprints to take the place of a physical or digital ticket to get into the ballpark. Immediate plans are in place to roll out the ticketing feature at Citi Field in New York for its Opening Day, and later this month Comerica Park in Detroit and Globe Life Park in Texas. The fingerprint ticket is expected to be introduced at additional ballparks this year, but the company didn’t say whether that included Camden Yards.
Beyond ticketing, Clear is also working on making the technology available at the concession state, including age verification and payment. This year, the company raised fresh funding led by Baltimore-based T. Rowe Price and D.C.-based Revolution Growth.
“With Clear, venues can focus more of their time personalizing and enhancing the game-day experience so fans can enjoy more of what they came to see,” Ed O’Brien, the company’s head of sports, said in a statement. While giving up a fingerprint may be a step too far for some, the company said it complies with guidelines for protecting sensitive data spelled out by the the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
This isn’t Clear’s first appearance in Baltimore. Fans may recognize the company from BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport, where iris scanners and fingerprint readers rolled out in security lines in 2015.
Fittingly, The Oriole Bird stopped by the airport to welcome the company:
Best of luck to @Orioles as they gear up for their home opener this afternoon! The Oriole Bird told us that same @CLEAR membership that helps you fly through security here at BWI Marshall Airport, will also help you this season at Camden Yards! #Open4BizMD #OsOpeningDay #OPACY pic.twitter.com/VxfbfmgiLE
— BWI Marshall Airport (@BWI_Airport) April 4, 2019
The biometric move is the latest tech signing by the team. For the players and coaches, the O’s inked a partnership to use bat sensors that will analyze swing data.
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