Within the next few days, Carolina Hurricanes season ticket members will receive their ticket packages from the team. According to the team, the mailing process will begin Friday to full- and partial-ticket plan holders.
Included in that mailing will be a bit of news that could come as an unwelcome surprise: The Canes are joining the ranks of teams that have moved almost entirely to digital ticketing, and are eliminating print-to-PDF functionality for all ticketholders beginning with the 2017-18 season.
Sara Daniel, the Hurricanes’ vice president of ticket sales, told Canes Country that the move to digital ticketing is intended to increase convenience, simplicity and ticket security in regards to fraudulent tickets. “You’re not worrying about forgetting your tickets at home. It’s more secure. People can’t manipulate the barcodes. The ticket can’t be replicated. It’s easier to have it right there and to share it.”
But sharing tickets with some other fans may actually end up being more complicated. All ticket transfers done without involving the box office, short of physically handing a ticket to someone else, will now need to take place within the Caniac Account Manager, meaning that recipients will need to either create or already have an account in CAM to receive tickets.
Daniel said that Ticketmaster, the Hurricanes’ ticketing provider, is working on additional methods to send tickets, including the possibility of transferring tickets via text message, but transferring through CAM will be the only option for this season, and likely for the foreseeable future.
However, Daniel says that the box office will be happy to accommodate any requests. STMs can contact their ticket representative to request for tickets to be held for other fans at will-call, and should fans who are not STMs want to use a paper ticket, the box office will ensure that remains an option. “We will print off tickets and provide hard tickets so that, if [fans] don’t want to use their smartphone, we will give them a hard ticket to gain entry.”
Additionally, the team will mail tickets to fans upon request, if enough lead time is given to the team to print and mail them to the recipient.
“There’s absolutely zero intention of pulling a fast one on anyone. We want to make everybody comfortable with the new process,” Daniel says. Step-by-step instructions on the new procedure will be included in the season ticket packets.
The change will most directly impact full STMs who opt for paper tickets over a digital card, as they will no longer be able to print their tickets to a PDF and will not have a card as a secondary option to load their tickets onto. For these fans, paper tickets - whether their own or printed at the box office - or tickets loaded onto a smartphone will be their only options for entry.
While the push for digital ticketing was encouraged by Ticketmaster, the decision to make the switch was the Canes’. Daniel explained that the team is following a growing trend of teams moving to digital ticketing. “More and more teams are going that route,” she says. “A lot of the technology that Ticketmaster is coming out with, currently and in the future, revolves around digital and mobile ticketing. We are by no means trendsetters, but we are certainly following suit with where things are headed.”
Ticketmaster counts approximately 20 teams in the NBA and NHL that have moved to mobile ticketing exclusively. The New Jersey Devils, Washington Capitals and Nashville Predators are among the teams that have implemented mobile ticketing recently:
- The Predators issued a press release last week detailing their plans, similar to the Hurricanes.
- The Devils issued a FAQ for their own transition, which took place last season.
- Russian Machine Never Breaks wrote up the Caps’ transition from last summer.
Daniel compares this transition to the one that moved partial-ticket plan holders, plus full-season holders who opted in, to digital season ticket cards rather than paper tickets a few years ago. While there was some skepticism at first, the transition eventually went well, and Daniel is banking on the same thing happening this time as well.
“Change can be scary, but once people give it a chance and understand it, they’ll understand that it is actually easy to utilize.”