Visa pushes mobile payments at Super Bowl 50

Feb. 4, 2016 | by Will Hernandez

Levi's Stadium, home of Super Bowl 50 and the San Francisco 49ers.

For a good portion of its almost 21-year partnership with the National Football League, Visa has focused on campaigns such as the My Football Fantasy from two years ago that got to the heart of why fans rooted for their favorite teams.

Visa in March renewed its partnership with the league for another five years and while the fan experience is still at the center of its marketing efforts, it will use the Super Bowl on Sunday to put the focus on payments.

Visa helped outfit Levi's Stadium, home of Super Bowl 50 and the San Francisco 49ers, with 535 contactless-enabled point-of-sale terminals to give fans the chance to use the mobile wallet of their choice to pay for concessions and souvenirs. Ingenico Group and FreedomPay the majortiy of the terminals in the venue.

Visa helped to put about 200 contactless terminals across different venues related to Super Bowl 50 fan activities. 

The San Francisco-based card network also worked with the NFL to integrate Visa Checkout into the Super Bowl 50 mobile app to enable fans to order food and drinks without leaving their seat.

Levi's Stadium provided Visa with the perfect atmosphere for it efforts because the $1.3 billion facility is dubbed as the most tech-savvy event venue in existence. And with Super Bowl 50 happening in the middle of Silicon Valley and in Visa's backyard, this is as good a time as any for the company to focus on emerging consumers payments technology.

"As we evolve our partnership with the NFL, one of the things we really hope to do is to continue to bring the fan experience to life emotionally, but then also use that as an opportunity to showcase some of the new payment technologies that we're working on or with our partners and help people really experience them," Sam Shrauger, Visa senior vice president for digital products, told Mobile Payments Today in an interview.

Visa takes the experience a step further leading into the Super Bowl and will show fans how to load their Visa-branded cards into Samsung Pay at the NFL Shop located inside the Moscone Center in San Francisco.

Visa is demoing payments technology at the store and offers fans a $5 discount towards a purchase for shoppers who participate in demos. The company also is giving $5 discounts to fans who have already loaded a Visa card into Samsung Pay.

Shrauger believes that efforts — such as this one from Visa — that highlight mobile payments can help raise consumer awareness and encourage their adoption of the technology, which has been uneven as major mobile wallets have debuted over the last 15 months.

"There's been so much publicity and media coverage about mobile payments and for a lot of consumers — it's a broad topic," Shrauger said. "What do [mobile payments] mean for them as individuals and what does it do for them as an experience?"

Sporting venues provide the payments industry with an ideal environment to promote new technologies.

In early 2015, Major League Baseball's San Francisco Giants added Apple Pay acceptance at AT&T Park. During the 2014 World Series between the Royals and the Giants, MasterCard introduced Apple Pay at Kansas City's Kauffman Stadium.

Rugby and soccer stadiums in Europe also have experimented with emerging payments technology. Gemalto last year partnered with the Saracens Rugby club in Hendon in the U.K. on a wristband that contains a contactless chip linked to a MasterCard prepaid account.

The Apple Pay and Gemalto examples are two of many that are becoming more common as emerging payments become for mainstream with consumers.

"The easiest and fastest way for anyone to become more familiar with new payments experiences is to use it [in order] to understand the benefits and get the emotional feedback of how that particular payments experience made your life easier," Shrauger said.

Fans at Super Bowl 50 Sunday will have plenty of opportunities to see how mobile payments fit with their lives.

Photo courtesy of Chris Martin.

Topics: Card Brands, Contactless / NFC, Handsets / Devices, HCE, In-App Payments, Mobile/Digital Wallet, POS, Retail, Trends / Statistics

Will Hernandez / Will Hernandez has 14 years of experience ranging from newspapers to wire services and trade publications. Before becoming Editor of, he spent two years as the content manager for, a leading payments industry news aggregator and information hub published by Mercator Advisory Group. Will spent four years covering the payments industry as an associate editor for multiple publications in SourceMedia's Payments Group based in Chicago.
View Will Hernandez's profile on LinkedIn

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