Millennials Bring Mobile Ticketing to the Forefront

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The ability to have in-the-moment options are key to capturing a fickle part of the consumer base.

Photo via: Phoenix Suns

As the paradigm shifts in the ticketing sector of the sports business, teams and athletic departments of all shapes and sizes are anxious to figure out the most efficient ways to get a fan into their venue.

Outside competition from other sporting events in the area, pop-up style social gatherings, and even one’s couch/big screen television combination is fierce, and executives have had to adjust their process on the fly.

But the great thing about unexpected challenges is that they tend to breed innovative thought. Mobile ticketing is a venture that is swiftly becoming more streamlined, and it will likely be the primary point of purchase for fans — avid and novice alike — as new technologies emerge.

The thought process behind mobile ticketing is not necessarily a new one — Major League Baseball was a leader in establishing a mobile ticketing presence through their Ballpark app a few years ago. However, now that more millennials are coming to a point in their lives where they have more purchasing power (well, some of us at least), on-the-go transactions should usurp the traditional box office if it has not done so already.

“It takes 30 minutes to walk around most stadiums. With one or two ticket sales locations, the old way simply isn’t efficient enough. Fans now carry miniature kiosks in their pockets and teams need to make it easy for them to buy and enter the venue,” Mike Evenson, VP of Product Strategy at AudienceView, told Front Office Sports. “It’s great to see our clients embrace innovation like Wembley Stadium, who has become the first in the UK to offer contactless entry at their historic venue.”

Many teams have adopted the “Student Pass” model of pushing unsold tickets at a discounted rate to students via mobile interfaces such as text messages and email. There have been multiple instances where a planned night of Netflix bingeing with my significant other has turned into a night at the ballpark merely because I got a text message with a link attached proclaiming that, “lower level tickets are only $5!”

And that is the gist of mobile-based purchasing — it is simple, efficient, and appeals to the impulse buyer. Once a team gets someone into their venue, all the ancillary revenue — parking, concessions, merchandise — can make up for any loss accrued by offering entry for only $5.

According to a 2015 survey from Ticketmaster, 84% of millennials search for live-event information on their smartphone, with a whopping 67% purchasing on those same devices. Those figures are only going to expand as we venture into the new frontier.

Any sport organization that does not have mobile-based ticketing as an essential cog in the foundation of their business is misguided in how they are utilizing their resources. It is the premier way to provoke the intention to purchase from a millennial buyer.

So where do teams go from here to differentiate themselves in the mobile ticketing market? Some, like the Pittsburgh Pirates, have offered a $29.99 per month “Ballpark Pass” through the Ballpark app that provided tickets to every Pirate home game during a given month. Marketing a subscription model is a language that every millennial with immediately understand, and is a shrewd way to open a gateway for a non-fan to generate affinity for the club. Other teams have dabbled with attaching offers to ticket purchases; think attaching a voucher for a free Uber ride to a Girls’ Night Out offer like the Boston Celtics did during the 2013–14 season.

Like it or not, millennial purchasers are spoiled. We like to have options, are calculating by nature, and are drawn to a couch potato lifestyle. It may be difficult for us to find you, but we are certainly accessible through the cinder blocks we cradle in our hands on a 24/7 basis. The future of the process is a blank canvas, one that is likely to be painted by the most creatively intuitive minds in the industry. Stay tuned.

This piece was presented to you by AudienceView.

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