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 TROW. According 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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