When the NFL season kicks off in September, the fans will be back but the paper tickets won’t.
The league is mandating that all tickets be digital for the 2021 season, codifying a shift that accelerated under the pandemic.
Instituted as a safety measure, mobile ticketing also helps the league track the secondary market, cut down on fraud, and target fans for marketing purposes.
The NFL is eager to maximize revenue after a $4 billion drop from $16 billion in 2019 to $12 billion last year. Attendance dropped from 17 million to just 1.2 million, as well.
While the NFL may be the first league to require digital ticketing, the writing has been on the wall.
- The universities of Michigan and Connecticut will exclusively use digital tickets with limited exceptions for their sporting events.
- Many teams, including the San Francisco 49ers, Atlanta Falcons, and Tennessee Titans are also going cashless at stadium concession stands.
- Barclays Center recently unveiled a contactless shop in partnership with American Express in which fans can scan a card at the entrance and be charged for whatever items they walk out with.
All of the digital transactions allow for expansive data collection on fans.
Thirty out of 32 NFL teams have received permission to return to full capacity when the season starts.