TechCrunch reports that the Apple Pay-like system was piloted during six home games starting September 22nd, only a few days after iOS 11's launch on the 19th. The site claims this was the first time a professional sports event supported contactless tickets like this; it also noted that the Athletics were the first to use mobile tickets via text messaging back in 2007. The contactless tickets are being developed by Tickets.com, says TechCrunch, and should be available for more games in 2018.
Sports teams have used NFC in the past, like the NBA's "connected jersey" that let super fans unlock premium content on their smartphone apps, but this is the first iPhone-based system we've heard about. While it doesn't seem that much more convenient to tap your iPhone to redeem tickets than it is to have them scanned off of a mobile device screen, an NFC system might be more secure and less prone to error, notes TechCrunch. We've reached out to the Oakland Athletics for more details and will update this post if we hear back.