How Ticketmaster is Using Technology to Change the Ticketing Experience

Justin Burleigh, EVP Product, Ticketmaster
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Justin Burleigh, EVP Product, Ticketmaster

Justin Burleigh, EVP Product, Ticketmaster

Over the past 50 years, technology has made our lives not only more efficient, but more convenient too. Take the airline industry for example. Travelers used to have to buy their tickets through a travel agent, arrive to the airport, check in at the front desk, get their tickets printed up, head to their gate, and stand in line while the ticketing agent took their ticket.

Compare that experience to 2018, where travelers are able to buy their tickets, check in to their flights, and get their ticket scanned all with their mobile device. It’s an evolution that has made travel easier and safer.

That very same kind of tech advancement is happening for live event ticketing right now. Perhaps the biggest example is the new partnership between the National Football League and Ticketmaster. And it is happening because of Ticketmaster’s next generation venue software and fan engagement platform called Presence.

To put it simply, Presence replaces paper tickets with digital passes, similar to what the airlines did. This effectively opens up a world of possibilities, which will improve the experience for fans, venues, and teams alike.

With the digital system, fans can access verified digital tickets and download them to a wallet on their mobile device. And because Presence is built on proximity-based digital technology like NFC and RFID, fans will soon be able to enter the stadium more efficiently by using simple touch-and-go technology. In the meantime, fans can use their digital tickets to be scanned at the gate. If things do happen to get clogged up because of a closed ramp or gate, the technology will soon allow the venue to send personal notifications to fans to let them know about a more efficient way to enter the stadium by sending something like, “There is no line right now at Gate B”.

 Ticketmaster is primed to change the way fans experience live events with their new fan engagement platform ‘Presence’, all happening in the palm of their hand with their mobile device 

In the past, it has been relatively easy for bad actors on unofficial sites to cheat fans with fake tickets, causing a logistical nightmare at the venue and a terrible experience for fans. In fact, according to the AARP, 5 million Americans experience fraudulent tickets every year when bought at unofficial source. Sometimes, all it takes is a photocopy of a PDF. While some of these sites offer refunds if you buy a fake ticket, we all know that a refund is not the same as actually attending the event. With digital tickets, selling fake tickets will become incredibly difficult, if not impossible. We know that because one Florida professional sports venue that implemented Presence last year and saw instances of ticket fraud plummet to zero. That’s right. Zero cases of fraud since implementing Presence.

Venues are also learning about ways to streamline operations with real-time insights and analytics. For example, when a fan with a ticket for Section 201, Row 5, Seat 10 presents her digital ticket to the usher, the venue operators will literally see her seat on the map light up, indicating that she has entered the building. This allows venues to see how efficient their entry operations are and know exactly when to start their events.

Another benefit revolves around fan insights. Currently, venues and teams only know who bought the ticket, not who is in the seat. Venues only know, at best, 1out of every 3 people who enter the venue. This happens because typically one person will buy tickets for a group of people, or a ticket is transferred or sold multiple times.

However, with Presence, teams and venues will have insight into the full-chain of custody of a ticket. Meaning if I buy tickets to see my beloved Cardinals play the Los Angeles Rams, but decide to give them to my cousin at the last minute, the venue will be able to follow that transfer, ensuring my cousin has an experience personalized for her instead of me.

If venues, teams, and promoters knew who was walking through their doors, they could understand their fans better and better secure their venues too.

Since launching one year ago, Presence has been implemented in more than 80 venues across North America, and to date, more than 13 million fans have entered venues using the technology. That number is set to skyrocket this fall when the NFL season begins.

After years of research and development and millions of dollars invested into the Ticketmaster platform, Presence and digital tickets are primed to change the way fans experience live events. And it’s all happening in the palm of your hand with your mobile device.

It’s the kind of technological advance teams and fans have been waiting for. And Ticketmaster is happy to be the one to make it happen.

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