- Ticketmaster for the first time is rolling out its digital ticketing technology to all National Football League (NFL) teams for the upcoming season, according to an announcement. Ticketmaster will provide NFL fans with downloadable tickets that can be accessed on their smartphone.
- With digital tickets, attendees can receive push notifications with information on parking and other venue suggestions. Ticketmaster started providing digital ticketing for pre-season games that kicked off last week. The company also said that digital ticketing helps prevent fraud and speeds up wait times at stadiums.
- As part of its promotion, Ticketmaster is running a season ticket giveaway for all 32 NFL teams. Fans can win a pair of tickets to all 2018 home games for the NFL team of their choice by entering the contest on social media. Fans must follow Ticketmaster on Twitter or Instagram and post photos or videos flaunting their enthusiasm for their favorite team with the hashtag #TicketmasterNFLentry and tagging their team.
A key advantage of digital ticketing is a marketing strategy described by PayPal's Braintree as "contextual commerce," meaning cross-selling products and services based on what people see or do with their smartphones. Sports teams can learn more about digital ticket-holders than those who use mostly anonymous paper tickets. Digital ticketing can help to build stronger, individualized relationships with fans around a team, while offering them additional products and services through mobile platforms, such as parking and stadium information and added convenience.
At the same time, marketers must tread carefully around how they handle up-selling with digital tickets, as Taylor Swift's recent concert tour demonstrated. The singer's "Reputation" tour used Ticketmaster Verified Fan to ensure that automated bots weren't buying up tickets instead of real people. As part of buying tickets through the system, fans were given an offer to get better seats if they also bought Taylor Swift merchandise at the same time. Some tickets turned out to cost $1,200 each, per Digital Music News, and the system led to major social media backlash from frustrated fans.
Digital ticketing is gradually becoming more popular as consumers become familiar with using digital wallets for transactions, such as cardless point-of-sale payments in retail stores. Ticketmaster's system, called Presence, will be installed at every NFL stadium and can also be used for shows or concerts at those venues. Presence was used for about 75% of scanned tickets at this year's College Football Playoffs and 85% of scanned tickets at the NHL All-Star game in Florida, according to CBS Sports.
Ticketmaster isn't the only ticketing platform building out its mobile offerings. SeatGeek partnered with Snapchat in June to let fans purchase live event tickets directly within the image-messaging app. Mobile and wearable device ticket purchases this year are forecast to reach 14 billion globally to make up 54% of total digital ticket sales for transportation and events, according to Juniper Research. Metro, bus and airline app ticketing is the most common among mobile consumers, followed by events.