On the Money

CLEAR will use biometric data scanning to help fans make it to their games on time

Fast lane

This weekend, Major League Baseball officially kicks off its season. And with legions of fans trying to navigate enhanced security checkpoints, stadium attendees may experience their own delay of game just trying to get to their seat.

"Sports stadiums are looking a lot like airports these days,"CLEAR CEO Caryn Seidman Becker told CNBC's "On the Money" in a recent interview.

Last season, nearly 73 million fans in total attended MLB games, and Becker said nearly 50,000 of them attend one game.

"Fifty percent of them come within 30 minutes of game time," she added. "That's 24,000 people, a lot like an airport trying to get through security effectively, trying to make that first pitch and enjoy the game."

At airports, for a $179 annual fee, CLEAR lets members take a separate lane outside the TSA line at 24 airports, having their identity verified getting passengers to airport security more quickly.

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Now, the company is trying to bring the same principle to various sports stadiums.
At ballparks, five National League teams (Mets, Braves, Marlins, Rockies, Giants) and four American League teams (Yankees, Tigers, A's, Mariners) have partnered with CLEAR to let fans use the same service. Once enrolled, they can bypass lines and get into the stadium faster. Currently, CLEAR is also in effect at one NBA arena (Miami Heat) and one MLS stadium (New York City FC).

"CLEAR is all about using biometrics that can be your fingerprint, your iris image, or your face for a faster and more secure experience," Becker told CNBC. "So you enroll once, so you're always you. You can use your fingerprints (as ID) as opposed to always coming to your driver's license."

To join CLEAR, Becker explained that "you have to show up, verify your driver's license and then connect your biometrics to it. And it takes less than five minutes."

Becker compared the biometric technology to a bank machine, but for a security line. "Think of it as an ATM machine, it's fast, you put your card in, or in this case your fingerprint and you go through."

According to the company, becoming a member at the stadium and entering is free, and can be used immediately. To use the membership at airports, however, people must upgrade to the $179 fee.

Since CLEAR has a user's unique biometric data, including fingerprints and eye scans, it raises the question of how will that information be stored and kept safe, especially in light of Facebook's data privacy scandal.

"Privacy and data security is core to who we are and it's our company's DNA from Day 1," Becker continued, "We do not sell or share our customer data."

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