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Atlanta Braves to sell restrictive paperless tickets

By Alfred Branch Jr.

The Atlanta Braves have begun offering restrictive paperless tickets as an option for group ticket purchases next season.

The team is promoting the option as a convenient way for fans to attend Braves' home games and is offering discounts up to $7 per person if fans choose the option.

"[Paperless tickets] will be stored directly on a credit card so guests can just swipe the card at the gate to enter Turner Field," the team said in a statement last week.

The restrictive paperless system will be operated by the team's ticketing partner Ticketmaster, which means the tickets are not easily transferable. Because Ticketmaster's system ties paperless tickets to the credit card used to purchase them, the cardholder must be present in order for the group to gain entry.

A spokesperson for the team did not reply to a request for comment.

The Braves are one of a growing number of teams that are employing paperless tickets. This season, the San Francisco 49ers began offering fans the option of purchasing restrictive paperless tickets for its home games.

Earlier this year, the Braves launched an online ticket exchange, but whether the paperless tickets can be resold through the site was not disclosed.

Restrictive paperless ticketing systems have drawn the ire of the consumer advocacy group Fan Freedom Project (FFP), which has argued repeatedly that such tickets limit what fans can do with them once they are bought.

FFP president Jon Potter could not be reached for comment. But in a release on its Web site, the group stressed that the Braves are eliminating individual entry into games with this option. As such, everyone in a group must stand in line together and enter the venue with the purchasing cardholder.

"This clever deal the Braves are offering is exactly how we've always predicted it would happen with paperless tickets — that teams and ticket companies would entice fans with incentives and discounts," FFP said.

After the team draws in fans with the incentives, FFP warns that over time the team could turn to using restrictive paperless tickets entirely.

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