Joining the mobile ticketing age

mobileticketI like to think of myself as a progressive, forward-thinking person. I love my iPhone and marvel at the many, many different tasks it can perform that once required a pen and/or paper. Whenever I travel, I insist on getting mobile boarding passes — indeed, I get angry whenever I’m told the option is unavailable for a particular flight — and consider it cool to be flashing my phone at the security gate when everyone around me is holding wrinkled paper boarding passes.

So I’m somewhat ashamed to say that, until last week, I’ve never used a mobile ticket to enter a sporting event. OK, the option isn’t nearly as widely available to sports fans as it is to airline passengers — at least not yet. But considering all the events I’ve attended over the years, I’ve never once thought about going mobile for my ticket.

Why? Well, I’ve stated the reasons for my affinity toward the old-fashioned ticket stub before (if you don’t want to read the old entry, the TL;DR version is that I’m nostalgic toward the games I’ve seen live and the ticket is the easiest keepsake and record of that event). Yes, it took me a little while to adjust to the print-at-home ticket that now has become ubiquitous for attendees of any ticketed event.

But now that I am fully acclimated to the print-at-home ticket, here comes mobile ticketing ready to blow up my box of keepsakes. Is my new nostalgic sports memories box going to be a folder on my hard drive?

I guess change really is hard even if you fancy yourself as modern and progressive. A few months ago, I took my colleague Big Red to a Los Angeles Kings game with me (as a half-season ticket holder, I get a supply of hard tickets shipped to me at the start of every season). After the game, as we were walking out, I watched her nonchalantly toss her ticket stub into the trash, and I nearly had a heart attack. She freaked out at my near-heart attack, and I spent the next five minutes or so profusely apologizing — but also simultaneously explaining why I would NEVER throw out a ticket.

In the end, we laughed about it but I’m pretty sure she now thinks I’m a little strange.

But hey, I’m taking baby steps forward. As mentioned above, I finally used a mobile ticket, to attend a Cactus League spring training game (see the image above). The circumstances pretty much forced my hand: I bought the ticket at 1 a.m. the night before the game; I was in a hotel and didn’t have a printer readily available to me; and I was on the mobile Ticketmaster site buying the ticket anyway. So I thought, “why not?”

And I have to admit, as I entered the ballpark, I felt the same cool factor I feel whenever I wave my mobile boarding pass around at airports.

It was a good test run: Because my seat was on the lawn, I didn’t need to refer to the ticket once I passed through the gate. And five minutes later, when I had a big ol’ tray of curly fries and a giant strawberry lemonade in hand, I thought to myself that I was really glad to not have the extra burden of holding onto a paper ticket.

So mobile ticketing certainly has its advantages, and I think I’m ready to choose that option more often. I just hope my Passbook is ready to hold all those old passes I’m too reluctant to delete.

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