“We can’t overestimate the value of computers. Yes, they are great for playing games and forwarding funny emails. But real business is done on paper, okay? Write that down.” -Michael Scott, The Office
As usual, the world’s greatest boss, Michael Scott, was just a bit off as he spoke to Ryan’s fellow business school students. When it comes to ticketing for sports, concerts, and other events, mobile ticketing solutions are becoming the norm, and paper tickets are quickly becoming a relic of the past. Paper tickets were on their way out anyways, but the transition to mobile ticketing and a cashless experience at venues was greatly accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Allegiant Stadium, home to the Las Vegas Raiders, will be the first venue in American pro sports to open as a cashless venue when the football season kicks off this Fall. Fans will not be able to use paper money and it will not be accepted as payment at any parking, retail, or concession locations within Allegiant Stadium. The issue in the past was this: going digital had to contend with slower speed times due to technology and the fact that fans simply wouldn’t use mobile ticketing. Covid-19 has made users much more conducive to using mobile for safety reasons and the technology has improved tremendously.
Mobile ticketing has evolved into much more than a ticket to get into the game, though. Now, teams can provide a much better overall user experience. They can’t control their team and whether they play well or not, but they do have some control over the mobile experience for fans. From when they arrive until they leave the stadium, they can provide everything a fan needs. A map of the stadium or directions to their seat? No problem. Pay for parking? Not an issue. Order some hot dogs and beers? Yep. Mobile. It’s sunny and you want to buy a hat? Once again, you can do that at the convenience of your seat on your mobile device. In addition, you can view real time stats, previews, replays, and more to fans through mobile. It’s about to get a little crazier - the William Hill Sportsbook recently opened inside the Capital One Arena in Washington. Now you can bet on your team on your mobile device at the first sportsbook to operate inside of a U.S. arena. The Caesars gaming and entertainment company has a deal with MLB’s Arizona Diamondbacks to promote to their fans they can bet on their mobile device as well as exclusive sponsorship opportunities.
The transition to mobile ticketing and a cashless experience at stadiums and arenas allows fans to scan themselves through a turnstile, pay for parking, order team merchandise and food, and get all the other information they’ll need to have a great fan experience. It’s important to note, though, that at the same time, the mobile device will be sending data back to the organization. It’s a great way for them to study the movement and spending habits of their fans.
In the not-too-distant future, it’s safe to assume there could be virtual season tickets that could provide an experience that includes everything that happens in and around the game. The virtual season-ticket holder would have the experience of being in the venue live throughout a virtual platform. Imagine opening up your ticket base by bringing fans into the venue or stadium environment without actually being there or spending thousands of dollars on tickets.
Mobile ticketing is an easy, convenient, and contactless way for fans to have a great overall user, and fan, experience. Teams that come up with smart mobile ticketing strategies will improve operational efficiencies, increase revenue, and provide a better customer experience than those that don’t embrace mobile.
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