AR

New Ticketing Developments Transforming the Fan Experience

Each week there seems to be a new development in the ticketing space with teams/artists, venues and fans now having access to a wide variety of new technologies which are improving the fan experience.

Having just finished some consulting work for a client in the NFL who wanted to know what were some of the next big and exciting things happening around ticketing I thought I’d provide a quick summary of that research here with a brief post looking at the new advancements in ticketing that fans could see soon at major events.

Summary of advancements in the ticketing space across the course of 2016-17:

1. Concourse Standing Only Passes

2. Face Value Re-Seller Sites

3. Charging for paper tickets

4. Loaded Tickets

5. Virtual Reality VR Ticketing

6. Mobile Only Ticketing

7. Ticketing and ChatBot Artificial Intelligence

8. CLEAR Biometric Ticketing

9. Microchip Tickets

10. Augmented Reality AR Ticketing

11. Fan Created Tickets

12. Innovative Ticket Marketing Ideas

13. Verified Fan Technology

14. *BONUS* Convenience store ticketing

1. Concourse Standing Only Passes

Many teams in the US are now offering fans the ability to just purchase concourse standing only passes. An example of this are the Oilers who announced the availability of $80 “Concourse Pass” which let fans get into the Rogers Place playoff games but which featured no seat and no actual view of the ice. By all media reports, fans were only able to watch via TV’s in the concourses. If the demand is there then fans will no doubt pay for these passes.

2. Face Value Re-Seller Sites

Some music artists who are fed up with ticketing scalpers are re-selling tickets at face value on their own sites. An example of this is Twickets by Ed Sheeran who supports a site where fans can resell tickets at face value and therefore get a fairer deal and chance to offload tickets or buy them for face value if a gig of his is sold out.

3. Charging for paper ticket

Teams like the Canadiens are now charging fans for paper tickets in an effort to make sure fans are coming into the venue with genuine tickets tied to the actual buyer which aims to address ticket fraud. The team also cited security, ease of use and environmental sustainability as reasons for the change. Some fans won’t like teams doing this even if it is the way of the future as for many the ticket stub is a collectable and special memento of the game they went to. In my own opinion I’m all for whatever venues, ticketing agencies and teams can do to stop ticket scalping and fraud however I love keeping my ticket stubs and have well over 1000 from various gigs and games I’ve been to from 25+ years of music and sporting events. Printed A4 ticket slips and mobile phone QR code tickets just don’t have the same appeal for me as a fan.

4. Loaded Tickets

Loaded Tickets are being introduced at global stadiums by teams and venue partnerships which have the ability for money to be ‘loaded’ on to their season membership card for food, beverages, tickets and merchandise while at the stadium to enabling ease, a better fan experience and to keep an eye on and control fan spending.

5. Virtual Reality VR Ticketing

Teams and stadiums are partnering with ticketing agencies to enable fans to be able to see the view of their seat as well as concourse concession options and other facilities like rest rooms and parking before they buy their tickets by having a virtual reality ticketing viewing experience. A good example of this VR feature is the work StubHub and the Nationals did together which allowed future attendees to dawn a virtual reality headset and check out the view from their seats before they even press the “buy” button. Deemed the “virtual view” on StubHub, customers can even use their phone to get a 360-degree shot of their baseball enjoying experience.

6. Mobile Only Ticketing

Teams like the Miami Heat have only recently announced plans to go strictly mobile only. The Heat announced the plans recently to switch to smartphone-only tickets for home games this season. According to a statement from the team, the new policy is due to the fact that about one in every three fans used mobile tickets to attend games in 2016/17. In the NBA other teams such as the Timberwolves and Cavaliers have also switched over to mobile tickets however these teams still offer the option for fans use a driver’s license and credit card to get into the venue. How do you feel about this as a fan? Would you want to just enter the venue with your phone? Too bad it’s probably going to be the standard in the next five years across the US.

7. Ticketing and ChatBot Artificial Intelligence

AI is being utilised in the fan ticket purchasing experience by allowing fans the opportunity to purchase tickets by sending a ‘buy’ text message to platforms like ReplyBuy and having chatbots respond with questions asking how many tickets the fan is after and other key ticket information. This is proving to be a new revenue opportunity for fans wanting to buy tickets to games. In recent weeks down here in Australia teams such as the Perth Wildcats (NBL) and Adelaide Crows (AFL) have introduced their own chatbots which I’m sure will develop over time to enable fans to be able to purchase tickets to games through Facebook Messenger.

8. CLEAR Biometric Ticketing

The ability to enter venues now with just your fingerprints is making some fans breeze through security rather than having to wait in lines to get into the venue. The CLEAR biometric fingerprint technology allows fans to enter the venue gates almost without security screening having already signed up prior to advanced screening like seen for some passengers at US airports. The Colorado Rockies launched this a while back for games at Coors Field and recently Detroit’s Comerica Park was also added to the list of US venues allowing fans to enter this way. What about you though? Do you want your fingerprint data collected? Could there be some big privacy concerns here?

9. Microchip Tickets

As crazy as it seems, some teams are now offering fans the ability to be microchipped with their ticket or membership information implanted into their arm through a tiny incision of a pill like microchip. The fan then is able to scan their arm at the gates to enter with ease at the venue. One team doing this is Argentine football club Tigre who have launched these implantable ticketing microchips in for die-hard fans. This is something from way left field but I think it’s pretty innovative and I’m putting it out there now, if there’s a team/stadium anywhere in the world that wants a test case for this then I’m 110% in! Just pay for all the flights, accommodation, match tickets and surgery and I’m there.

10. Augmented Reality AR Ticketing

Innovative new augmented reality technology was utilised to bring match day tickets alive at the most recent Rugby World Cup in England through the use of tech company Blippar’s Augmented Reality technology. The Rugby World Cup 2015 tickets were able to come to life and provide fans with unique activations developed as part of the ticket design. In a first for a major sporting event, the technology allowed fans to create a 3D interactive experience through their smart phones by scanning any Rugby World Cup 2015 match ticket with the app. The fans were then able to unlock exclusive content with England 2015 ambassadors. Having been playing around with a few AR apps recently I expect more interesting AR developments will come into our match day tickets provided some of them stay as a physical ticket!

11. Fan Created Tickets

Teams like the Green Bay Packers are turning social posts from fans into commemorative tickets that feature fans own generated content which is then featured on the match day ticket. The Packers aren’t the first team to do this with other NBA and NFL teams also allowing personalised messages and photos to feature on tickets.

12. Innovative Ticket Marketing Ideas

Teams are constantly creating new and innovative marketing strategies to get bums on seats from retro ticket prices to game day merch ticket bundles and the endless variety of US ‘event’ nights however one that stood out recently was the Bucks who announced a special 10-win pass ticket offer which saw fans have access to however many games it took the team to get to 10 wins. Fans were guaranteed a seat to see the next 10 home victories as part of this unique new ticket package, inviting fans to attend the next 10 home Bucks victories for just $149 through the exciting and affordable 10-Win Pass. I haven’t had a chance to follow this up but does anyone know how many games these fans were able to actually get? 11, 12, 15? How many did it take for them to get their 10 wins?

13. Verified Fan Technology

Some ticketing agencies like TicketMaster US are creating a ‘verified fan’ ticketing process which enables fans to sign up and access tickets by completing tasks or buying other items like merchandise. Some commentators see this as a bit hard on genuine fans to have to do this but the idea is that this is cutting out the bots and scalpers and making it a fairer process for genuine fans. Would you complete tasks like sharing a team/artists social posts to then have access to buy tickets? It sure would beat those pain in the butt Captcha’s that keep reloading on ticketing websites no matter how many times you click all the damn street signs or cars!

14. *BONUS* Convenience store ticketing

 


While in Japan recently I was amazed at the ease of being able to buy match day tickets to a Japanese baseball game from a machine inside a 7/11 store. With a little help from the helpful staffer, the ticket machine which presumably also doubled as a printer, fax, coffee and internet machine was simple to use and allowed me to easily grab a couple of tickets to the game at Osaka’s Kyocera Dome. How about this stadium!

So there ends a quick summary of some of the developments around ticketing and how it’s going to or already is impacting the fan experience. Feel free to throw in some other ideas in the comments and if you’re looking for a creative and enthusiastic problem solver to help you engage and grow your fan base please feel free to touch base with me at @MrBlairHughes and WWW.MrBlairHughes.com.

About Me:

Blair Hughes is a passionate advocate for fans and an authority in the fan engagement/experience space who consults around analysis, ideation and implementation for global sporting leagues and teams to help deliver creative and innovative fan engagement solutions that grow fan bases as well as increase revenue opportunities. Blair brings a diverse and creative approach to his work as well as a knowledgeable background in adolescent sociology and fan psychology as a result of a career and valuable life experiences gained from the education, sport, music and digital sectors. More information can be found on his website https://mrblairhughes.com/

19 Cool Pokemon Go Fan Engagement Examples From Sports Teams

It’s only been released for 16 days but by now there’s no way you would not have heard of the most successful gaming app of all time- Pokemon Go.

Developed by Niantic, the navigation based augmented reality app has been an outstanding success that has captivated people across the world to get out and capture Pokemon creatures with their smart phones while also generating in excess of US$35M as well as seeing an average of 20M active users each day in the US.

Such is the craze that Pokemon Go has led to the mayor of Brazil demanding that it is made available in time for the Rio Olympics while health professionals are praising the app’s  benefits in improving the mental and physical health of people. Furthermore, law enforcement agencies across the globe are warning of the dangers of the game with one person already being killed playing the app.

The benefits of Pokemon Go to businesses everywhere mean users get off the couch to go outside therefore giving them a chance to discover new shops, new restaurants and new landmarks, all while engaging in a new method of socialization that encourages group interaction and stepping outside their comfort zone. Augmented reality is not a new fan engagement activation in the sports business either with the Scottish Football Association using AR to launch a kit in 2011 while Manchester City launched an AR app that enabled fans everywhere to lift the FA Cup however Pokemon Go has taken AR in the sports business to the next level. 

Sporting teams and stadiums have been quick to jump into Pokemon Go with teams across NBA, NFL, NRL, AFL and more all having fun with the game and with their fans by hosting meet ups, open stadium hunts, ticketing and merch deals for trainers, goal celebrations and even by announcing the signing of players.

The fan engagement takeaways from the incredible positive reception of Pokemon Go are in my mind the following:

  1. AR (and indeed VR) will continue to be two areas in which the sports business, stadiums and teams across the globe will focus their attention. Already in the sports world we’ve seen the Rugby World CupDallas Cowboys and Detroit Red Wings use augmented reality technology to offer fans 3D interactive experiences and exclusive content. Sports fans want unique experiences and AR will offer new ways of delivering this to them. 
  2. More fans will be coming to games rather than watching at home due to the advent of AR games and apps like Pokemon Go. Fans always want more and if teams or stadiums (with high speed free Wi-Fi) can tap into the success of this app to create something unique but with a sports or team focus then surely that means more bums on seats. 
  3. Teams (club social media managers) can be proactive on social media in driving fan engagement amongst their fans by jumping onto interesting and creative moments like this by posting their own team spin on the subject which fans will instantly get a kick out of. The key is as always to never stop listening to your fans. 
  4. The combination of team data and AR will enable teams to deep dive into how to get better and win more plays or games while offering fans unbelievable insights into players and the team. 

As you will see from the various ideas below sporting teams have been quick to jump into this space in the past fortnight. 

Have you seen anything else? Tag me at @MrBlairHughes and I’ll be sure to add it to the list. 

1. Toronto Argonauts are setting off lures at The Shipyard during the Tailgate and at BMO Field once the gates open. Fans need a game ticket to get in but can take advantage of an exclusive Pokemon Go ticket deal when the Argos battle the Alouettes on Monday.

Toronto Argonauts

Toronto Argonauts

 

2.  let fans onto the field to catch Pokemon.

@DurhamBulls

@DurhamBulls

 

3. Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings and Baltimore Ravens had some fun on Twitter with this feud.

Chicago Bears

Chicago Bears

 

4. FC Koln. The Bundesliga team had their players talk about Pokemon Go on Media Day

 

5. The Finnish Football Team performed a Pokemon GO inspired celebration after scoring a goal

6. Gold Coast Suns AFL: Pokemon Go At Metricon Stadium

On Saturday, Metricon Stadium will transform into a digital battlefield, with the Gold Coast SUNS’ home of football the latest venue to be swept by the global smartphone phenomenon that is Pokemon Go.

Gold Coast SUNS

Gold Coast SUNS

 

7. Phillies MLB are trying to lure fans to the games with Pokemon by telling players that they’ll be dropping lures, basically an attraction point for the Pokemon to show up at more frequently, at all Pokestops (places of note) in the stadium all night long.

Phillies

Phillies

 

8. Sacremento Kings are hosting a  Pokémon Go Meet-up for fans

9. Houston Rockets offered fans discounts on their merchandise for anyone playing the game in their arena. If players made any purchase, their name would be entered in a raffle for the chance to win an autographed basketball.

Houston Rockets

Houston Rockets

 

10. San Antonio Missions granted special early access to Wolff Stadium. Gates opened earlier and Pokémon Go Trainers were able to walk the stadium trying to catch Pokémon and they can also battle at Wolff Stadium’s Pokémon Go Gym.

San Antonio Missions

San Antonio Missions

 

11. Port Adelaide AFL created a guide for fans on catching Pokemon at their training grounds.

PAFC

PAFC

12. In the NRL the NZ Warriors had a bit of fun with fans on social media.

NZ Warriors NRL

NZ Warriors NRL

13. Nebraska Huskers had over 3700 people turn up to play the game at their stadium.

Nebraska Huskers

Nebraska Huskers

 

14. The St Kilda AFL team also found the funny side of the craze with this post.

St Kilda AFL

St Kilda AFL

 

15. Vancouver Whitecaps announced the signing of a new player 

16. Texas A&M had a Pokemon Go event at their stadium for fans to come in and catch the creatures.

  17. Dallas Mavericks offered fans discounts if they played the game at their game

  18. Phillies 

The Phillie Phanatic jumps headfirst into the Pokemon Go craze with this mascot fun.

19. NFL Players Catch Pokemon Go Fever

Good few gifs and more fun videos here substituting the ball for a pokemon ball!

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