Aug 1, 2020 - Sports

Sports teams experiment with facial recognition amid coronavirus pandemic

Citi Field in New York City on July 30.
The Mets' Citi Field in New York City on July 30. Photo: Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Multiple professional sports teams are considering facial recognition systems to make admitting fans to stadiums as touchless as possible during the coronavirus pandemic, Wall Street Journal report.

Why it matters: It is unlikely that fans will be able to return to live sporting events soon unless facilities adopt measures, like touchless admission systems, to prevent the spread of the virus.

How it works: The New York Mets and the Los Angeles Football Club are testing facial recognition technology in their stadiums, according to the WSJ.

  • Los Angeles FC is trying an app called Clear, made by Alclear, that would let fans take and upload a selfie to their accounts and link it to their existing Ticketmaster profiles.
  • At the stadium, one camera would measure the fan’s temperature, while a second would determine whether the fan is wearing a mask. The fan would pull down their face covering to allow the camera see their faces and admit them if they have purchased a ticket.
  • The Mets are using Alclear’s recognition system to authenticate players and staff as they enter the stadium and take their temperatures. The MLB team is considering using the technology for admissions as well.

The big picture: In their current form, stadiums could be the perfect environment for COVID-19 to spread because of the proximity of fans.

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