On Saturday the Washington Nationals held their annual fan appreciation day - known as NatsFest - at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Having outgrown Nationals Park for this event due to their recent success and surging popularity, the organization wisely anticipated a huge turnout. Baseball fans of all ages filed into the climate-controlled facility. The Nationals appeared ready to handle the throngs of new fans with a unique take on optimizing the turnstiles, however the details of the process were still unannounced.
Other teams in Major League Baseball have adopted a trend of having fans swipe their credit card at the gate. Apple's Passbook software is also very popular amongst fans due to the relative ease of use and popularity of the smart phones. These advancements will assuredly save ink in printers as the need to bring a paper barcode to the ballpark will be obsolete.
A table was set up and manned by very professional employees of the team who were eager to answer many questions season ticket holders had. The lines were filled with many older fans who either had trepidations about the new process or were excited to hear more. With all the military and sensitive-access employees in the area, no doubt some wanted more details because of concerns of identity theft and criminal account access.
Unlike other ballparks where your credit card is your pass, season ticket holders will receive a new membership card with an imbedded RFID chip. Like the Metro SmarTrip and the E-Z Pass, similar technology is in play in order to increase the speed in which the consumer can access a product. This card will also be used to purchase merchandise more quickly at the Clubhouse Team Store as well as the concession stands.
Although the details are forthcoming, the team has a web page devoted to The Ultimate Ballpark Access. To sum up, your credit card will stay in your pocket and loose ticket printouts fluttering by the Miller Light Scoreboard Walk will be a thing of the past for most. Fans will be in the park more quickly than ever before. Just imagine being already back in your seat holding those hotdogs and beer in your hands before the next inning starts! Opening day can't come soon enough.