The Cleveland Cavaliers and the team’s digital ticketing partner Veritix reached a team milestone earlier this week when more than half of the fans attending the Cavs home playoff game against the Chicago Bulls used paperless tickets to enter.
According to the team, 11,752 out of the 20,562 fans attending the game at Quicken Loans Arena on Monday, April 19, used the Veritix Flash Seats system, which requires the person to swipe a magnetized ID – such as a credit card or driver’s license – at the gate gain entry. The system then prints out a small receipt with their seat location, but it’s considered paperless because no physical ticket is created before the event that the fan needs to bring with them.
The team still used traditional paper tickets for more than 8,000 fans who attended the game, but Jeff Kline, president of Veritix, said that while the team will continue to use paper tickets for some fans, even some season ticket holders, he hopes those numbers are reduced next season and beyond.
“Reaching this milestone was exciting,” Kline told TicketNews, adding that the Denver Nuggets, Utah Jazz and Houston Rockets also use Flash Seats, but the number of fans using it in those cities have not yet reached the same level of adoption as Cavs fans. Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert is a founder of Veritix.
The use of paperless ticketing technology is growing in the live entertainment industry, mainly because Veritix and Live Nation Entertainment’s Ticketmaster, but the technology has drawn criticism from ticket brokers and some fans because of the hassles of swiping IDs and the difficulty of transferring tickets.
Kline addressed the transferability issue by stressing that Flash Seats allows people to transfer tickets to anyone, which allows for large parties of fans to enter games at different times and through different gates. To transfer a Flash Seat, the buyer uses the Web site to send the ticket to the other person via email. That person then clicks on a link in the email and registers their unique ID for free into the Flash Seats system and then swipes their own card to gain entry. If the parties don’t have Internet access, the transfer can be done by phone through customer service.
“If you have a seat you know that won’t be used, you can resell that ticket quickly and easily,” Kline said.
While seemingly simple, the system still requires extra steps for brokers and consumers to explain it to customers or friends, and the intended recipient of the Flash Seat has to register an ID with the company, creating another digital footprint on the Internet that not everyone is keen on doing. Though, Veritix assures users that the company uses highly secure Internet safety protocols.
Jim Goodman, a ticketing consultant and former senior executive at Tickets.com and Ticketmaster, said he is a proponent of paperless ticketing, and he believes the only real drawback is that there is still “confusion about the technology from the consumer.”
“Adoption and education are the two big factors, just like there was with bar codes or print-at-home. But, those hurdles were surmounted,” he said.