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Houston Astros to Introduce Facial Recognition Entry System for Fans

As the baseball season draws near, the Houston Astros are set to pioneer Major League Baseball’s Go-Ahead Entry system, offering fans a hands-free and efficient means of entry into Minute Maid Park using facial recognition technology.

Following a successful pilot phase at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia last year, the Go-Ahead Entry system will be fully operational at all entry gates of Minute Maid Park. Fans will witness its debut during the Astros’ upcoming exhibition game against the Sugar Land Space Cowboys scheduled for Monday at 7:10 p.m.

While traditional ticketing options remain available, the convenience and speed of the Go-Ahead Entry system may sway fans’ preferences. However, privacy concerns linger among some, given the use of artificial intelligence to scan fans’ selfie photos for entry. Assuaging these concerns, MLB senior vice president Karri Zaremba assures that the system does not retain fans’ images but rather stores a token on their ballpark app account.

To ensure smooth implementation, only fans aged 18 or older can register with the system, while those under 18 must have their tickets loaded onto the app by someone of legal age. This feature facilitates family entry, allowing parents to manage tickets for their children within the app.

Astros senior vice president of business operations, Marcel Braithwaite, anticipates widespread adoption of the technology across ballparks, citing its convenience for families and fans alike. Unlike previous facial recognition systems, the Go-Ahead Entry offers a seamless, free-flowing entry process without the need for fans to pause for scanning.

To guide fans unfamiliar with the system, Go-Ahead Entry ambassadors will be stationed at each gate entrance. For those eager to utilize the technology, here’s a simple guide:

Step 1: Download the MLB Ballpark app and enroll in the Go-Ahead Entry system, which will prompt you to take a selfie. Step 2: Accept your tickets via email linked to your MLB Ballpark app account. Step 3: Ensure all tickets are downloaded onto the app and proceed through the designated “Go-Ahead Entry” lane for seamless entry into Minute Maid Park.

With its debut, the Go-Ahead Entry system marks a significant stride towards enhancing fan experience and streamlining entry processes at MLB ballparks.