Astros fans to expect quicker lines, possible headaches with new ticketing technology

Going to games in Houston this year is getting a modern twist.
Championship Series - Texas Rangers v Houston Astros - Game Six
Championship Series - Texas Rangers v Houston Astros - Game Six / Rob Carr/GettyImages

For the Houston Astros, spring training came to a close on Sunday and that means all attention is turning towards the start of the 2024 season on Thursday when they take on the Yankees on Opening Day.

Given the demand for Astros' tickets thus far, fans can expect big crowds for the first series of the season, but there does appear to be a way around the long lines if fans choose to opt into a new program.

Last year, a pilot program was launched in Philadelphia to test out using facial recognition software as a means to connect a fan's face with the tickets they have purchased. One quick face scan is all that is needed to let a fan go through and enjoy the game. Apparently the pilot program went well enough that the technology is also going to be in use for Astros home games starting in 2024.

Astros fans can opt into using facial scans as their tickets, but questions remain

If everything goes well, this could make going to Astros home games much easier to navigate. The system is completely voluntary, but if a fan opts in using the MLB Ballpark App and just goes through the "Go-Ahead Entry" line, scanners will pick up their face pictures on file and let them right through assuming they bought tickets to the game in question. That certainly beats waiting in line while attendants scan QR codes on phones and try to account for each person in a party, etc.

There are some potential issues here, though. One, facial recognition technology isn't exactly the best right now and it is a mortal lock that MLB and the Astros aren't going to be using the top end scanners for this.

Really, all of this comes down to how prepared Houston is for potential hiccups. If they have the personnel and training in place to handle a few glitches in the system and to pivot to traditional ticketing options, then the headaches will be trivial. However, if the system proves to be popular and either has a lot of glitches or the team doesn't plan for potential technological shortcomings, then the system could turn into more of a nuisance than it is worth.

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