Depending on your perspective, it’s something cool, something straight out of a sci-fi movie or something that is just plain scary. An Argentine soccer club is testing out the idea of a microchip that could be implanted under the skin of fans with season tickets. The chips would then be scanned at the gate as the fans entered the stadium.
While it’s most certainly an effective marketing ploy, Club Atletico Tigre’s gimmick has met with some enthusiasm from the club’s most die-hard fans, according to Tony Connelly writing for The Drum. The team is calling it (appropriately) “the Passion ticket.”
“The ‘ticket’ is not so much a ticket as a microchip which is inserted under the skin and allows users entry into the stadium without the need for identification or a traditional season ticket,” wrote Connelly. “The first division side’s supporters are renowned for their passion and pride which can be summed up in their amorous chant called ‘I carry you inside me!’”
The chip would be similar to those implanted into dogs and cats so owners can locate them if they are picked up at a local animal shelter and scanned.
The club’s general secretary, Ezequiel Rocino, was the first to volunteer for the implant, which he had put into his arm, right under his tattoo of the team’s logo. The team has been quick to assure fans that the chip doesn’t have GPS technology and won’t be used to track them. Instead, fans with the chips will be able to skip the long lines into the stadium.
In comments to the Associated Press, Rocino highlighted that the club was “not doing anything invasive, just accelerating access. There’s no GPS tracker, just the member’s data.”
“The scanner will read the data on the implanted chip, and if the club member is up-to-date on his payments, will immediately open the security turnstile,” according to the club.
According to the Web site Sport Techie, the program still has a long way to go before actual implementation and still has numerous hurdles with local health and security agencies that undoubtedly will have a few questions to ask the team’s management. The program would also need to be cleared by the Argentine Football Association itself, even if it clears the initial governmental inquiries.
Those who support the microchip plan say it could improve stadium security, a very real issue in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks earlier this year. Scottish authorities recently drew some criticism for their plans to use facial recognition software on fans entering sports stadiums.