Super Bowl LV To Go Cashless for the First Time

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The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a screeching halt to many things, from conventions to full sports arenas to live concerts. But the coronavirus has sped up a move away from paper currency, and that’s culminating with a cashless Super Bowl in 2021.

The NFL announced Wednesday that Super Bowl LV in Tampa Bay, Florida, will use contactless payment methods at the game and surrounding events, CNBC reported. That move was already in the works before the pandemic, but the virus “accelerated” those plans, NFL executive vice president Renie Anderson told CNBC.

In 2019, the league had contracted with Visa to handle payments at the game and fan experiences, and Visa had been aiming for a cash-free Super Bowl in five years. The pandemic moved up that timetable.

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Fans coming to the Super Bowl can still bring cash and convert it into gift cards through “reverse” ATMs at the stadium, said Mary Ann Reilly, the senior vice president of Visa’s North American marketing division.

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The switch has benefits for the NFL and Visa. The league can harvest data on consumers’ purchase habits — not what they buy, but where and how much they spend. Visa, meanwhile, earns fees from all transactions and said that fans spend 25% more when using contactless payments at live events.

Visa has helped some NFL stadiums convert to cashless systems already, including MetLife Stadium, the home of the New York Giants and Jets; and Levi’s Stadium, which hosts the San Francisco 49ers.

Like cash, see which other popular items might disappear soon.

Last updated: Dec. 31, 2020

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