Want to catch the Miami Heat during the upcoming season at American Airlines Arena? Don’t forget your phone.
The NBA franchise, which briefly ruled the league before Lebron James opted to head back to Cleveland and broke up the championship triumvirate he led with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, announced it will no longer issue paper tickets for the upcoming season. All entry will be controlled via mobile devices.
The benefits of the mobile ticketing system are mostly for the organization issuing them. Forcing customers into a phone-based system allows the harvesting of a treasure trove of customer data, which can be used to market other tickets and team products to the users. It can also be sold to third parties, depending on the privacy policies the Miami Heat get their customers to opt in on.
The team did stress that mobile tickets will be transferrable, though these platforms are often enacted in part to limit the ease of transfer and combat scalping.
Miami’s move is somewhat unique in that there will be no option for fans who wish to receive a paper ticket instead. Many teams have implemented mobile ticketing options, but give those who wish a hard stock ticket in its place the right to ask for it – sometimes at a premium. The NHL’s Montreal Canadiens drew criticism for a plan like this leading up to their 2017-18 season, where they will charge fans who wish to get a physical ticket well over $100 for the luxury.
Florida is not among the states which require fans be given a non-mobile option for tickets by law. New York and Virginia have such laws on the books currently, while Connecticut has one that was signed by Governor Dannel Malloy this year, which will go into effect on January 1.
So, Sunshine State consumers are stuck with e-tickets, even if they purchase tickets at the box office the day of the contest.