PayPal enhances payments systems at San Jose Earthquakes stadium

PayPal has enhanced its US-based marketing strategy via an agreement with the San Jose Earthquakes, also strengthening contactless-payments methods at the Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise’s stadium.

Under the terms of the ten-year agreement, PayPal will provide a contactless payments system at the arena, beginning with a QR code-based service. Further points of sale such as concession and merchandise stands will then be equipped with new payment methods, enabling transactions to be conducted by PayPal and Venmo via smartphone.

“We’ve got 600,000 retail locations live with QRC now,” said Jill Cress, Vice-President of Consumer Marketing at PayPal, speaking to Forbes.

“We think that stadiums are a great opportunity to do this in a really concentrated way and highlight this technology. We can kind of make it a pervasive part of the experience in the stadium.”

Additionally, PayPal will serve as the team’s sleeve sponsor and will also benefit from in-venue signage advertising, whilst the 18,000 seat venue,previously known as the Avaya Stadium,will be renamed the PayPal Park.

In a bid to provide a much-needed boost to local small businesses in San Jose – the payments platform operator’s home city, with its HQ roughly three-miles from the Earthquakes’ stadium – Bay Area enterprise will also be able to benefit from sponsorship arrangements during games.

“A big part of our focus is on building a very strong small business community who can connect themselves to buyers around the world, and we saw huge growth in small business sign ups over the last year through COVID,” Cress added.

“We continue to be committed to look at new ways to partner and to collaborate with them and to really provide awareness to those small businesses.

“I think for us, we look at the opportunity — albeit local to San Jose — as a way for us to kind of double down on our commitment to our stakeholders broadly. To leverage this investment and to shine a light on how we support small businesses, and their role in really bringing the community together.”

Also speaking to Forbes, Jared Shawlee, Chief Operating Officer of the San Jose Earthquakes, commented: “We’ll see how it evolves over time. But hopefully PayPal Park can kind of be a showcase stadium for payment systems for other venue operators around the world.

“Because of COVID and the Pandemic, a lot of people have become more comfortable using payment solutions that are like this. But yes, certainly with the younger Millennial audience that we attract in MLS, this is a perfect fit.”

The enhancement of PayPal’s sports sponsorship operations follows the expansion of its cryptocurrency activity, as the firm looks to increase its presence in more financial verticals.

PayPal’s decision to enable US-based customers to conduct cryptocurrency transactions has fuelled a further price increase in Bitcoin, with the coin’s value rising by 2% to $144 billion last week.