So professional sports is moving (many teams already have) toward a strictly digital ticketing platform, eliminating one of the most iconic souvenirs in our national fabric. The most loyal among each teams’ fans want to be considered.
Will admission into games be easier, safer, and more personal? Implemented correctly, the answer is yes. Will a strictly-digital policy lead to confusion, technology challenges and a loss of privacy? This answer is also yes.
But make no mistake, many fans really want this change. They are quite comfortable with mobile technology, using their devices as the primary means of making purchases and paying their bills. Buying tickets and getting into games is a logical and convenient next step. This won’t be considered a new normal, just normal.
On the other side many fans are really dreading this disruption. To this group, largely long-standing season ticket holders, this is seismic, a true loss of the things they hold dear – tradition, privacy, the ability to re-sell tickets in ways they are comfortable with and without added-on fees.
Clearly the front offices of all teams have work-shopped these issues, and by now are deep in the planning phase on how not just to implement, but do so in a way that fans and season ticket holders will accept, perhaps even embrace.
As someone involved on both sides of the discussion (a season ticket holder and a supplier of both traditional and digital admissions products to this space) it comes down to scale and content. Scale not just from the standpoint of the process, but the range of the fans/customers the process is aimed at. Content not just from the standpoint of getting a message out, but content in terms of getting the message out – relevant and timely information or offers that the fan will find beneficial.
What I mention above is not a revelation in any way, it’s simply Customer 101 stuff. But I’m reminded of something that an industry colleague, Mary Ann McLaughlin of Butler Street LLC, has stated many times: “If we solve our customers’ problems, we’ll solve our own”.