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Scotiabank Saddledome and McMahon Stadium in Calgary Go Cashless for Payments with Square Partnership [Interview]

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New commerce technology by Square is allowing the Scotiabank Saddledome, home of the Calgary Flames, and McMahon Stadium, home of the Calgary Stampeders, to go cashless for payments of everything from merchandise to food to alcoholic beverages. 

Prior to the pandemic, the venues, owned and operated by Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation (CSEC), received 50 to 60 per cent of their onsite payments in cash during big games. Deploying a new POS system to enable cashless, distanced payments quickly, and that integrates with other areas of the business, has been a key priority for McMahon and Scotiabank Saddledome.

New technology at the venues include more than 350 Square Register and Square Terminal units to power sales and manage operations, which are integrated with Square for Restaurants and Square for Retail software.

Ziad Mehio

“McMahon and Scotiabank Saddledome are two of several facilities owned and operated by CSEC. Maintaining a high level of service requires selecting technology and payments partners who can match the size and scale of these and other arenas,” said Ziad Mehio, Vice President, Technology and Food Service at CSEC. “We definitely made the right choice with Square. Since implementing Square’s hardware and software, we’ve been able to speed up transactions, increase revenue and significantly reduce lines, while dramatically simplifying administrative processes for our staff.”

On Wednesday, CSEC, Square and Interac announced a program, #YYCSpotlight Business Giveaway, which will help boost local businesses. 

The contest was developed to celebrate the year-long, multi-phased collaboration between Square, Interac and CSEC to enhance the fan experience at Scotiabank Saddledome and McMahon Stadium in Calgary while supporting local businesses.

Winning business owners will receive their choice of either a Square Register or a yearlong subscription to Square Online Premium, along with $1,000 sent through Interac e-Transfer, game tickets and a comprehensive in-stadium advertising package. The fan who nominates each winner will receive a chef’s table experience for two at Nupo restaurant in Calgary, plus a $100 gift card to spend at a local business.

Image: Square / Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation (CSEC)

The first recipient of the program is YYC Princess, owned by Caitlynne Medrek

In total, 14 local Calgary businesses will benefit from the #YYCSpotlight Business Giveaway on Instagram and Twitter, with seven winners to be crowned at McMahon Stadium starting on July 30 – at this Saturday’s Stampeders vs. Blue Bombers game – and an additional seven to be awarded at the Saddledome throughout the Flames’ season starting in October. 

Rachelle Roulston, Manager of Special Projects for CSEC, said the organization has been collaborating with Square and Interac since the fall of 2021 to boost the fan experience at the Scotiabank Saddledome and McMahon Stadium through a complete point of sale makeover leveraging Square hardware and software and Interac’s network.

Rachelle Roulston

“Thanks to this technology overhaul, service has been greatly improved, fans can use QR codes to order concessions and skip the lines, those who do lineup for food and merchandise are served more quickly and efficiently and hawkers can now take multiple forms of payment including Interac debit and credit card,” she said.

“From a CSEC perspective, our operations are far smoother and they’ve allowed us to make better decisions, understand trends and optimize staffing, inventory and promotion.

“We’ve seen a huge uptake in sales. Our transaction time has decreased so much . . . We’ve been able to get through lineups way faster and we are seeing about a 20 per cent faster processing time.”

Image: Square / Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation (CSEC)
Cole Baldwin

Cole Baldwin, Business Expert and Sales Lead at Square Canada, said the company was created in 2009 to ensure that everyone had equal access to the economy and to help independent businesses accept card payments.

“The pandemic has thrown Canadian businesses challenge after challenge — and accelerated the demand for new, more flexible omnichannel commerce solutions,” said Baldwin. “Square’s integrated products and platform enable sellers of all sizes to run their businesses, and as a proud partner of McMahon and Scotiabank Saddledome – two of the most well-recognized stadiums in the country – we’re eager to continue to show our support for small businesses through our program with CSEC and Interac.”

At this time, Baldwin said, the initiative is only present in Calgary.

Image: Square / Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation (CSEC)

Isabel Lee, Director, Client Solutions and Investor Relations for Interac, said Canadian businesses are looking for seamless solutions to meet the demands of an evolving digital economy – while maintaining profit margins, convenience and security.

Isabel Lee

She said that since 1984 Interac has connected more than 29 million Canadians and nearly 300 financial institutions in payment processes. 

“Canadian small businesses are the foundation to our economy and they make up 97 per cent of all merchants. I don’t need to underscore the impact these last two years have had on business owners. We know small businesses have been disproportionately impacted and most Canadians believe now more than ever it’s important to support the small businesses in their community,” added Lee. 

Here’s how fans can nominate a business for the #YYCSpotlight Business Giveaway.

  • Instagram: For one entry, fans will tag a Calgary business in the comments and tell us why they are their favourite business. For an additional entry, fans will share the giveaway post to their stories with #YYCSpotlight tagging both @SquareCanada and @Interac.
  • Twitter: For one entry, fans will tweet their favourite business in Calgary and tell us why using the hashtag #YYCSpotlight, tagging both @SquareCanada and @Interac. 

Medrek started her YYC Princess business six years ago and today she has 43 performers that work for her with more than 30 characters. 

CALGARY, AB – JUNE 27, 2022: Square Press Conference at MacMahon Stadium on Wednesday. (Photo by Jenn Pierce/Calgary Stampeders)

“In the past two years, over the pandemic, I was able to hire, pay and support over 400 different artists in this city at a time where artists just didn’t have work at all. When a lot of businesses were being hit really hard by the pandemic, we managed to create more magic in this city than we ever had before,” she said. 

“I’ve been using Square since the day that we started. The thing about Square it’s perfect, it’s easy, it’s efficient and it’s effortless. And when I use Square and I tell my clients that I’m using Square they know that I’m not sketchy, they know that I’m legit and they know that their money is going to be taken care of and it’s not going to be hanging out in the ether for hours at a time.”

The collaboration between Square, Interac and CSEC culminates during Small Business Month in October, when the three will host a small business summit to bring sport, entrepreneurialism and community together for a day of thought leadership, inspiration and education for business owners. More information about the small business summit will be provided in the coming months. 

For more details about the program and how to get involved in the giveaway, visit squareup.com/ca/en/connecting-communities/calgary

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior National Business Journalist with Retail Insider in addition to working on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

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