CLEAR Partners with MLB, Biometric Technology Coming to Ballpark Near You in ‘19

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CLEAR has signed a deal to become the official biometric identity and ticketing provider of Major League Baseball. The partnership, in conjunction with Tickets.com (MLB owned, primary ticketing partner for 23 teams), will give fans a “faster, more secure entry experience” by “eliminating the need to present a paper or mobile ticket.” Fans who link their CLEAR profile with their MLB.com account will be able to gain entry, pay for food/drinks and validate their age “with just the tap of a finger or, in the near future, facial recognition technology.” CLEAR technology will be implemented at select stadiums this summer, with broader roll-out (at parks that use CLEAR and Tickets.com technology) expected in ’19. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Howie Long-Short: Certified as a Qualified Anti-Terrorism Technology by the U.S. Department of Homeland, CLEAR made a name for itself in airports around the country before turning its attention to the sports world. Now the company has 13 professional sports partnerships including 9 with MLB teams (Braves, Rockies, Tigers, Marlins, Mets, Yankees, A’s, Giants and Mariners).

A privately held subsidiary of Alclear (acquired in ‘10 for $5.9 million), CLEAR has raised $35 million since October 2015. There are two ways to play the company, with both T. Rowe Price (TROW, led 2 rounds) and Delta Air Lines (DAL, led the 3rd round) having invested. TROW was the sole investor in the company’s most recent round ($15 million, closed in April 2017).

Speaking of TROW, the company reported that it brought in $11.3 billion in client cash in Q1 ’18 – the second-biggest quarterly haul in company history – increasing AUM by 2.3%. There’s a reason those that seek active-management want to invest with TROWAccording to Bloomberg, the company’s Growth Stock Fund has outperformed 93% of its rivals since 2012. Shares hit an all-time high in June ($127.43). The company is expected to report Q2 earnings tomorrow.

Fan Marino: The addition of CLEAR technology isn’t going to bring fans to the ballpark (attendance is down 10%), but it does remove one of the many pain points (see: parking, cost of concessions etc.) associated with attending a game. More NFL teams should look to implement CLEAR technology (only Raiders have it). According to Tempkin Group’s Fan Experience Benchmark, the NFL currently offers fans the worst game day experience among the 9 pro sports leagues considered.

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MLB Teams Using Biometric Data to Enhance Fan Experience

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The Atlanta Braves, Oakland A’s and Seattle Mariners are the latest MLB teams to implement CLEAR’s “smart access pass”, a free membership service that offers fans expedited entry into the stadium (note: there is a $179 fee for their airport service). CLEAR technology uses biometric data (finger print, iris image etc.) to confirm an individual’s identity, speeding up the security process; with members funneled to express entrance lines. While currently known as a gate security company, CLEAR is pursuing a future where their platform uses a single biometric ID to power the entire in-stadium experience; from ticketing to alcohol and concession sales.

Howie Long-Short: CLEAR, said to be “building a connected world that’s smarter and more secure” through its biometric identity platform, services nearly 2 million members across 34 sports stadiums and airports nationwide. The company is certified as a Qualified Anti-Terrorism technology by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. A privately held subsidiary of Alclear (acquired in ‘10 for $5.9 million), CLEAR has raised $35 million since October 2015. There are two ways to play the privately held company, with both T. Rowe Price (TROW, led 2 rounds) and Delta Air Lines (DAL, led the 3rd round) having invested. TROW was the sole investor in the company’s most recent round ($15 million, closed in April 2017).

Fan Marino: 9 of the 30 MLB ballparks now offer CLEAR’s service. Yankee Stadium and Coors Field were first to implement the technology back in 2015. Marlins Park, Citi Field, AT&T Park and Comerica Park also offer CLEAR fast-entry lanes. American Airlines Arena in Miami is the 1st NBA building to provide the service. It’s should be noted that competitor TSA Pre✓(from IdentoGO By Idema, a subsidiary of the private equity firm Advent International), services Jets fans at Metlife Stadium and 49ers fans attending games at Levi’s Stadium.

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