With the introduction of a new operating system for iPhones, MLB Advanced Media has expanded support for paperless tickets with Apple’s Passport applications.
Under the new system — which will be offered for the rest of the season by the Kansas City Royals, New York Mets, San Francisco Giants and Boston Red Sox — a ticket is purchased on a team Website or tickets.com (the wholly owned subsidiary of BAM) and then delivered to an iPhone, where the ticket is displayed as the home screen. A fan then presents this home screen at the ballpark for entry.
“The Passbook app will be a great option for baseball fans to store their tickets on their iPhones,” said Adam Ritter, SVP, Wireless, MLBAM. “Building from Tickets.com’s open technology, we are able to seamlessly integrate the fans’ purchasing experiences, allowing them to utilize Passbook as an efficient, secure and convenient option.”
Right now this capability is limited to iPhone users running iOS 6. Eventually that will run into the millions; it’s much less than that now.
Paperless tickets are a mixed bag for consumers. On the one hand, they’re convenient: you buy a ticket and merely present an iPhone at the front gates for entry. On the other hand, they’re notoriously hard to transfer (MLB teams just hate scalpers, and paperless tickets would indeed thwart them), and for corporations buying season tickets to distribute to employees and clients, they’re not very practical. So we don’t ever forsee the day when MLB goes to a paperless ticketing system — right now paperless-ticket sales are “too few to be of any significance” despite being around since 2007 according to Tickets.com SVP of Client and Consumer Services John Rizzi — and it will take some serious new technology to make them a major presence at the ballpark.
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