The NFL cuts the agreement with Visa to stop using cash

<p>Visa debit credit card.

Simon Dawson | Bloomberg | fake images

For the first time in 55 years, no cash will be accepted at the Super Bowl.

The National Football League will make its championship game fully digital with the support of its corporate partner, Visa. Super Bowl LV in Tampa Bay will use only contactless payment methods in-game and at league fan experience events.

“It sounds efficient,” NFL executive vice president and chief revenue officer Renie Anderson told CNBC when discussing the plans.

“We knew it was only a matter of time,” he said. “We just sped up that time.”

Although Covid-19 helped accelerate the abandonment of paper money, Anderson said the decision not to use cash was in the works before the pandemic.

As part of his contract renewal in 2019, Visa was already turning major league events into cashless settings. The new arrangement runs through the 2025 NFL season.

“A cashless Super Bowl was the primary focus of our new deal,” said Mary Ann Reilly, Visa’s senior vice president of its North American marketing division. “The plan was to get to a cashless Super Bowl in five years, and we’re doing it in less than two years.”

Reilly said attendees can still bring cash and turn it into prepaid gift cards of up to $ 500 each through eight “reverse ATMs” throughout the stadium and the league’s Super Bowl experience, which will take place. outdoor.

More spending, more data

Reilly said Visa found that fans at live events spend 25% more when using contactless payments.

The shift to fully digital payments will also allow the NFL to collect more efficient data on consumer behavior. Although Visa data does not show what consumers buy, Visa customers can see when, where and how much consumers are spending.

Reilly said that analyzing transaction data can help stadiums and merchants in many ways. “It would also improve stadium revenues,” he said. “Think about how much time they spend processing and managing cash. Stadiums will save money on that cash management.”

It also helps Visa, which earns commissions on transactions. The company reported a 17% decrease in revenue in the last quarter from a year earlier, as the pandemic halted international travel. Visa has helped many NFL stadiums become contactless options, including the home fields of the San Francisco 49ers, Baltimore Ravens, New York Jets, and Giants.

Tampa Bay’s Raymond James Stadium is scheduled to host the game on February 7 at 20% capacity. Anderson said the NFL does not plan to alter plans around the Covid-19 vaccine news, but would “explore” increased capacity if pandemic conditions improve.

Anderson said the goal of the NFL is to continue the evolution of this technology, adding the Super Bowl in 2022 when the game moves to Los Angeles would also be contactless.

“Moving forward, the Super Bowl will be a cashless event and we will take all of our key learnings from Tampa and apply them to Los Angeles in 2022 and beyond,” he said.

This story was updated to reflect that the NFL has committed to future cashless Super Bowls.