Enabling Digital Commerce At Sporting Venues With Mobile Ticketing

sports stadium smartphone

With sports teams such as the Carolina Hurricanes moving to distribute tickets nearly exclusively via mobile, fans are now tapping into digital platforms to access sporting events. And almost nine in 10 — or 87 percent — of tickets in the Carolina Hurricane’s playoffs last season were scanned from mobile devices via quick response (QR) codes.

When it comes to purchasing, a rising share of consumers in the U.S. and in other countries are using their smartphones to book seats and skip long lines. According to the Commerce Connected Playbook, approximately 80 million people bought mobile tickets for sporting events last year. And consumers are forecast to spend $23 billion on mobile tickets by 2023.

From ticketing platforms such as Gametime to payments companies such as Visa, innovators are harnessing the power of mobile. These are just some of the ways these firms are letting consumers buy tickets, make payments at the game and gain access to sporting venues with their mobile devices:

The expected increase in mobile ticketing spend for sports by 2023 is 64 percent. And digital marketplaces are focusing on customers looking to score last-minute tickets to events. Gametime, for instance, has started building a mobile experience for ticket sales to sports games, concerts and other events. To further this focus, the company launched a feature earlier this year dubbed LastCall, which enables customers to allow users to buy tickets up to 90 minutes past the start time of an event. Gametime CEO Brad Griffith said earlier this year that there is a cultural shift of people making last-minute purchases through services like Uber and Lyft. The company is seeing that 60 percent of customers buy tickets on its platform within 36 hours of an event per news earlier this year.

The increase in contactless payment growth at FIFA host cities compare to June 2018 is 140 percent. Beyond only sports, tapping is becoming a dominant payment factor quickly around the world. Excluding the U.S., for instance, nearly half of all Visa transactions at physical points of sale happen via contactless card tap. In Western Europe, that figure is higher: almost two-thirds of all transactions happen via tap. And, in Central Europe, Canada, Africa and the Middle East, that figure is nearer to 60 percent. Asia Pacific lags behind the worldwide average somewhat, with one-third of all in-person transactions happening via contactless card. More notably, the U.S., buttressed by the adoption of EMV technology, is now leaving behind its status as the global outlier where contactless is concerned.

The approximate number of consumers who used mobile ticketing for sports in 2018 is 80 million. And ticketing platforms are updating their mobile checkout processes. Through Ticketbud’s new purchasing process, for instance, customers visit an event page and choose a ticket option among multiple tiers set by event organizers per news in January. Those options run the gamut from general admission (GA) tickets to enhanced early tickets and VIP packages. With the setup provided by the platform, the customer views these different kinds of options and selects one of the choices presented by the event organizer. Once ticket buyers make those decisions, they arrive at the Ticketbud checkout cart. Those using mobile experiences tap to pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay.

The estimated potential revenue for the U.S. legal sports betting market following a 2018 Supreme Court Decision to legalize such activities is $150 billion. In New Jersey, for instance, mobile sports betting is growing to the point where the state is reportedly near topping Las Vegas as the country’s biggest market. The Supreme Court ruled that states can establish their own betting systems, but not across state lines. Geofencing, however, makes sure that mobile apps remain within each state. Sports betting is legal in 12 states in some capacity. Mobile betting, however, is only allowed in five: New Jersey, West Virginia, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Iowa. Approximately 80 percent of gamblers are now betting online. In May, New Jersey surpassed Nevada for the first time.

The share of purchases made using contactless payment technology at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup (France) was 51 percent. Contactless payments were making their big play at the event per Visa data. The company said in a July statement that “in the nine official stadiums, fans across France tapped to pay using contactless payment technology for more than half (51 percent) of purchases — including on contactless cards, smartphones, payment-enabled wristbands and wearable technology.” Visa also noted that “analysis of out-of-stadium spend from international Visa cardholders shows increased tourism in France, especially significant in smaller host cities.” The company noted that there was a 140 percent increase of international cardholders of Visa choosing to tap to pay when making purchases outside of the stadium in the nine host cities.

With technologies ranging from contactless to mobile ticketing, payments firms and ticket marketplaces are allowing consumers to tap into their phones for commerce in, at and around the game. And, as consumer habits evolve, some older practices are falling by the wayside. Several U.S.-based venues are no longer accepting printed tickets, for instance, and opt for mobile ticketing instead as they harness the latest commerce technology.



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