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Eric Peterson, Published December 13 2012

Dragons utilize mobile app to make buying concessions easier


Dragons basketball fans won’t have to miss slam dunks or 3-pointers to plot their halftime refreshment needs. That planning can now be done from the stands.

Minnesota State Moorhead is starting to use the Square wallet app, which allows customers to set up an electronic tab to buy concessions. That means no cash, no credit or debit card, no problem.

“Students typically don’t bring cash or don’t bring a card to a game and all of a sudden at halftime, they’re thirsty,” said Jon Wepking, MSUM’s assistant athletic director for marketing and production.

The Dragons host their Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference home openers tonight at Alex Nemzek Fieldhouse against Minnesota-Duluth. The women’s game starts at 6 p.m. while the men’s game starts at 8 p.m.

The school started using the Square Register app, which allows a business to accept electronic payment, during the fall season.

That gave fans the option to use credit cards to purchase concessions. Before that, it was cash only.

Adding the Square wallet app, which is used in conjunction with Square Register, takes it a step further. Fans that have the wallet app can use their smart phones to make purchases.

“It can help speed up lines and you don’t have to carry cash and a credit card into every game,” Wepking said. “You can just bring your phone.”

For fans that use the app, MSUM Athletics Concessions will have a virtual storefront in the Square Register directory, which will also show other area businesses that use Square. A listing of MSUM concessions with prices can be viewed with the app. So you can be sitting in the stands and choosing what you may want to eat or drink at halftime. You can also open an electronic “tab” from the stands.

When you get to the concession stand and make your purchases, you can charge that amount to that Square wallet account. Once that purchase is verified, you can get either an email or text receipt.

“The hope first of all is to make it more convenient,” said Chad Markuson, MSUM’s associate athletic director.

Markuson said offering credit card payments during the football season paid dividends. Anecdotally, Markuson said he saw people buy larger amounts of concessions once they found out credits cards were accepted.

The Square wallet app is another technology piece that MSUM has added to game days this season.

Alex Nemzek Fieldhouse had a $1 million electronic upgrade to the facility that was completed last spring. The improvements included new scoreboards, new digital message boards, a high-definition video board and a new sound system.

“That’s one of our focuses, to improve the overall game-day experience,” Markuson said. “I’ve had numerous people talk about how great it’s been able to see replays.”

The Dragons also have a digital Hall of Fame in the lobby just outside Alex Nemzek Fieldhouse and two digital displays outside the main athletic office.

“It’s fun watching people on game days at halftime of games using the touch screens,” Markuson said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found

at peterson.areavoices.com