The Edmonton Oilers are temporarily backing off of a forced shift to paperless ticketing, after system failures led to widespread fan complaints. The team originally banned paper tickets this year, forcing both season ticket holders and single-game buyers to use mobile tickets or programmed season ticket cards for entry. But that fell apart after a “software issue” caused the system to go down and led to massive entry delays.
The team informed seat holders of the policy change via email on Saturday. “After an extensive review of the issue, the risk of these outages continuing is significant enough that we will be returning to the mobile ticket process you were familiar with in 2017-18,” the email wrote, according to CTV Edmonton.
Going forward, fans will be able to use their mobile device and season ticket card, but will also be allowed to print a PDF of their ticket to use at the entrance.
We believe that will get the pressure off the system this year, allow us to work through it,” said Edmonton Oilers chief commercial officer Stew MacDonald. “But the most important part for us is listening to our customers. The last thing we want is to come into a hockey game frustrated before the game even starts.”
Edmonton is one of many organizations to make an aggressive push towards closed-system mobile-only ticketing in recent years. The teams and venues consistently point at reduced fraud as the reasoning, but there is also a wealth of consumer data that can be harvested by locking all activity through a mobile system. There is also a wealth of things that go wrong.
System outages have been the bane of mobile systems, ranging from lines snarled across the country caused by a central Ticketmaster issue a year ago that crippled the entry for several events to an instance where Kid Rock fans had to wait in a long line to print tickets at the venue when the mobile entry option failed.
It would appear that the plan for Edmonton is to simply hit the pause button on that transition for the time being, but go back down that path for the 2019-20 season.