The Tampa Bay Rays are launching the first-of-its-kind program in Major League Baseball this season. The team has partnered with Fortress US to provide season-ticket holders with an ID card (“Burst Pass“) that also acts as a debit card for purchases within the stadium. Fans are incentivized to use the card over their retail bank cards because twelve percent of every dollar loaded onto the card will rewarded as a cash bonus.

As SportTechie discussed in July 2011 (linked below), using mobile devices as virtual wallets were expected to become more common place in the future. The Burst Pass is a prime example of this. It uses radio-frequency from a chip built into the card to wirelessly transmit and share data.

Storing the chip within the card eliminates the chance of external damage and allows for quicker transaction times, leading to shorter waiting lines at concession stands and more time for fans to be at their seats watching the game.

“The Burst Pass is a convenient way for Rays fans to save money and time at Tropicana Field, and provides a powerful new platform for us to better understand the needs of our customers,” said Rays Senior Vice President of Development and Business Affairs Michael Kalt.

Fortress US has worked with a number of premier European sports institutions, including franchises in the English Premier League and facilities in the 2010 World Cup. The Rays have announced that they will continue to work with Fortress in the future, signing a three-year partnership deal with the UK-based company. “Fortress looks forward to working with the Rays on introducing further innovative fan centric applications on the Burst Pass card” said Mika Weinstein Lustig, Head of Business Development Fortress Group.

What types of applications would you like to see from your favorite sports team?