Los Angeles Football Club rolls out NFC ticketing on Apple Watch and iPhones

Fans use their iPhones and Apple Watches at a contactless turnstile to get in to an LAFC match
JUST THE TICKET: A fan uses an iPhone at a contactless turnstile to get in to an LAFC match

Los Angeles Football Club fans attending matches at the Major League Soccer club’s Banc of California stadium are now able to use Apple’s new Express Card NFC functionality to gain access to the venue by simply tapping their iPhone or Apple Watch at entry turnstiles equipped with contactless readers.

The system is the result of a collaboration between turnstile maker Skidata, ticket seller SeatGeek and smart event platform provider Pronto CX.

The result, Pronto CX’s Conrad Caplin told NFC World, is a fan-friendly solution that makes it easy for ticket holders to enter the stadium quickly and securely.

To begin the rollout of the service, LAFC emailed season ticket holders with a link they could use to add their season ticket to Apple Wallet, Caplin explained. Then, on match days, iPhone users who have added their ticket to Apple Wallet receive a notification on their lockscreen as they approach the stadium, with an instruction to tap on it to select their contactless ticket in Wallet. They then simply touch their iPhone to the turnstile’s contactless reader to enter the stadium.

Alternatively, iPhone users can skip tapping the lockscreen notification and have their ticket automatically selected by just holding the top of their locked or unlocked iPhone near the NFC reader. Automatic Selection works using Apple’s Value Added Services (VAS) protocols with Enhanced Contactless Polling (ECP) and both the NFC reader and the event ticket being configured with a common identifier.

Apple Watch users double click the side button on their watch to activate Apple Wallet and then present it to the turnstile’s contactless reader to enter.

A video shows the service in action at the stadium:

The reaction from fans has been very positive, Caplin said. “There’s a genuine element of surprise and delight,” he explained. “The system just works. When they come through the gates, it’s like ‘wow’.”