By: Jesse Davis West July 25, 2019

Stadiums around the world are using facial recognition for a variety of purposes, ranging from making facilities more secure to improving fan experiences. Here are five fascinating ways that sports teams are using facial recognition today.

Preventing Stadium Violence

It’s no secret that sports fans can sometimes get unruly. As an example, 3,778 fans were ejected from American college football games during a single season. That number pales in comparison to pro sports. In a single pro football season, there were over 3,415 incidents at 49ers home games alone, including more than 200 fights and 23 felony arrests. 

Stadiums around the world are using face recognition to keep track of fans who have been arrested, ejected and banned. At the World Cup last year, facial recognition led to more than 40 arrests. In Denmark, Danish Superliga soccer club Brøndby IF is using facial recognition to instantly alert security professionals whenever individuals who are on a blacklist try to enter a stadium. Facial recognition has likewise been used in Queensland Australia at concerts and sporting events. 

U.S. sports teams are following suit. From talking to our customers and partners, we know that facial recognition is going to become increasingly commonplace over the next year for screening guests at sporting events and concerts. 

Speed Up Staff Screening

Face recognition doesn’t just tell security who shouldn’t be attending events, it can also help ensure that authorized individuals gain access to events. The 2020 Olympic Games in Japan has announced that they will be using facial recognition to help speed up security screenings for over 300,000 athletes and staff that are expected to attend. Facial recognition can help radically speed up the identity authentication process.

Secure Locker Rooms and Facilities

U.S. based professional sports teams have already started using facial recognition to ensure that unauthorized personnel stay out of training facilities and locker rooms. Mark Cuban implemented this technology to help secure the Dallas Maverick’s state-of-the-art locker room. According to Fansided, “As you walk into the training room, there is facial recognition at the entrance with a monitor that displays the identified player along with game notes and messages regarding that player.” It has also been used to protect the locker room at Madison Square Garden. This is to help keep players safe and ensure their privacy. Facial recognition systems can also be configured to alert security professionals in real time if a known stalker tries to get into the locker room. 

Tailor Advertising to Fan Demographics

Facial recognition isn’t just for security. Stadiums and arenas can use computer vision to not only count how many people attend games, but gain insight into fan demographics. According to this NBC report, “the algorithms can quickly give overall demographics for everybody at the stadium.” As an example, face recognition can be used to estimate the age of fans. So if, by using a facial recognition platform, a baseball organization determines that the crowd skews younger during Friday night games, they could ensure that advertisements properly target the younger demographic. The best part is that this data can be fully anonymized to offer teams valuable information while protecting fans’ privacy. 

Recognize VIPs

It’s important to ensure that VIPs have a fantastic experience when attending events. Facial recognition offers a means to instantly recognize VIPs like season ticket holders. After fans opt in, a sports organization can allow them to skip lines or offer tailored promotions that help increase loyalty. In fact, facial recognition technology is already being used in South Africa to identify fans and personalize their experience. Through an opt-in facial recognition program, teams can protect fans’ privacy while providing them with winning experiences. 

These are just some of the ways that stadiums have already started using facial recognition. Download this fact sheet for more information on how you can use facial recognition to provide safer and more personalized experiences.