When Chiefs season-ticket holders received their 10-game bounty for two preseason and eight regular-season contests, they were presented a slick red box that contained small gifts.
But no tickets. Just this message:
“All of your tickets and parking passes (if applicable) are loaded onto the enclosed commemorative cards and placard.”
This year, the NFL has rolled out digital ticketing technology through Ticketmaster to all 32 teams. There are no paper products, at least in advance. Purchased tickets are programmed into an account and are transacted through a mobile phone or device.
For those who collect torn tickets as souvenirs, maybe even had them framed, those days are fading.
The NFL has entered the mobile ticketing space that’s been occupied by concerts, festivals and other forms of entertainment. Those in the ticket industry say it’s a safer and more secure way to conduct business.
“The biggest reason for mobile ticketing is security, because every ticket you buy this way is tracked,” said Jay Harig, vice president of sales and marketing for Tickets For Less, an Overland Park-based ticket broker. “A team or organization can follow where that ticket goes. It cuts down on fraudulent tickets and provides a safer environment.”
Mobile ticketing also attempts to remove the scalper from the equation.
“The few people trying to buy tickets on the street should understand it’s not a real ticket,” Harig said.
But Harig said there is a learning curve, especially for those who aren’t comfortable with technology.
The Chiefs, set for their first home regular-season game on Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers in a noon kickoff, have played two preseason games. Team president Mark Donovan said he expected plenty of confusion over ticketing for the first game, in August.
The Chiefs had sent messages directly to ticket holders and the mobile ticketing process is available on their website, www.chiefs.com/tickets/mobileticketing.
Still, Donovan kept tabs on his ticket officials through the preseason games and assigned extra personnel to gates.
“I thought the worst-case scenario would be people driving up the toll booths and asking, ‘Now, what do I do?’” Donovan said. “Or they’ll walk up to a ticket window and say they needed their digital ticket.”
Donovan said some three hours before the game, about 6,000 fans hadn’t accessed their ticket account and his concern level increased.
After the first quarter, Donovan learned that some 5,000 entered without a problem and the other 1,000 didn’t come or use their tickets.
“It was the best-case scenario,” Donovan said. “People knew what they were doing.”
The Chiefs were prepared in other ways. Mobile devices are becoming an essential piece of fan equipment. But they’re useless without power. The Chiefs, like many teams, make charging stations available.
“You have to have solutions to let people charge phones,” said David Walke, CEO and founder of goCharge, which provides the stations at Arrowhead Stadium, Kauffman Stadium, the Kansas City Zoo and several other pro sports and arena sites.
Cell phone charge is needed not only to enter the stadium but for those leaving in an Uber, Lyft or other ride share. The Chiefs have created a tailgating experience for those to ride share to and from games.
Not to mention all the other uses of a phone during a game: communication, posting to social media, accessing stats … selfies.
“A cell phone gets to 50 percent charge and you start thinking about it,” Walke said. “There’s a word for this.”
Nomophobia, the fear of being without a mobile device or beyond mobile contact.
“We cure nomophobia,” Walke said.