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Volume 23 No. 13
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Fast meets safe at the front gate

Biometrics / Clear

To help move people into sporting events faster, a growing number of venue operators are encouraging their fans to give them the finger.

Ten big league teams now offer fans the opportunity to bypass the game-day magnetometer lines by scanning a fingerprint. The technology is similar to the precheck process used at airports by the Transportation Security Administration.

Manhattan-based biometric security firm Clear is the market leader in the space, with eight venues and three more deals close to completion.

Fans can sign up for free outside the sports venues or at certain airports. The enrollment and approval process, which includes a retina and fingerprint scan, takes about five minutes and becomes active immediately. Once approved, fans also can opt for an upgrade to receive Clear’s airport clearance, which costs $179 annually and is installed at 23 U.S. airports, including 18 major league markets.

Travelers who have completed Clear’s vetting process can skip the airport security line and go straight to screening. Clear has been awarded Safety Act designation and certification, the highest level of protection issued by the Department of Homeland Security. The federal recognition gives the company protection from having to pay claims that might be filed by victims in the event of a terrorist attack at the ballpark.

Ed O’Brien, Clear’s head of sports, said that the 50 percent of the fans who went through the Clear lanes at Coors Field last season had actually signed up at the airport for the service, which reduces the workload for the team’s gate staff.

The San Francisco Giants were the first team to try Clear, beginning with a 10-game test in late 2014. The club now has a Clear lane at AT&T Park’s entrance. Nearly half of the club’s games last season included the distribution of a promotional item, such as a bobblehead. Team staff handed out a total of more than 800,000 items at the gates.

“Giveaways can be very difficult for ingress,” O’Brien said.

The Colorado Rockies, New York Mets and New York Yankees each returned for the 2017 season and added a Clear lane at their main entrance, after trial runs near other entrances.

Last month, Paris-based Idemia made its first foray into sports, signing deals with the New York Jets and San Francisco 49ers to promote its TSA precheck biometric authentication program, called IdentoGo.