As a long-time fan of sporting events, concerts, theater, and other arts and leisure events I just want to make certain we don’t leave behind a precious part of the fan experience.
During our recent move back home, to NE PA, we went through boxes of papers, books and research material all in an effort to get rid of “stuff” we no longer needed or felt necessary to keep. We each have a large storage bin, my wife refers to as a “memory box”, which contain keepsakes and collectables from our lives. As I went through the contents, I came across numerous ticket stubs from events ranging from theme parks, sporting events, concerts, and Broadway shows. As I looked at each, the vivid memories of those events surfaced, as if I were living them all over again. There was game 6 of the 1996 World Series, Yankees vs. Braves. I took my 3 children on a bus filled with Yankee fans, me being the ONLY exception. I could picture my children’s faces…. we had just experience a piece of sports history together. As I held the ticket I recalled how the crowd was standing and cheering as Wade Boggs mounted a NYPD horse and circled Yankee Stadium with his index finger held up, signifying the Yankees were, indeed #1. We all became Yankee fans that evening. But just for that evening. Then I came across tickets from The Lion King on Broadway. We took my children to the show and had seats located right center-isle, first row. The expressions on the faces of those children, and yes my wife and me, were of sheer wonder and joy. All those memories, images, and priceless expressions courtesy of a keepsake ticket from the past, held in a “memory box”.
No, I’m not saying ticketless event entry is a bad thing. I know the up-sides to ticketless entry are numerous. You have the convenience of printing tickets at home or scanning at the event. You can transfer your tickets to someone with the simple click of a mouse. The “Cashless RFID Wristband” introduced at Lollapalooza can connect your event wristband to a credit card, eliminating the need to carry your credit card or cash for purchases. Then there’s the savings in production costs and the ability to utilize social platforms and mobile devices for “data collection” while growing your business through promotional opportunities. Yes, there are many advantages to the technology of today.
As a long-time fan of sporting events, concerts, theater, and other arts and leisure events I just want to make certain we don’t leave behind a precious part of the fan experience. The memory of my wife’s first Steeler game at Three Rivers Stadium. Forty yard line, 14 rows up from field level. Holding those tickets brought back the experience of watching my fun-loving, but somewhat reserved, wife “high-fiving” with Steelers fans after every score. That is what it is all about, isn’t it? What makes people come back time and time again. The experience, including the anticipation and build-up to the event, the experience of the event, and the memories we have, we share and we keep in our “memory box”.
Can the “classic” fan experience exist in today’s world or will it become a causality of technology and convenience? What’s being done to help preserve the “paper ticket” portion of the patron’s experience? Let me know. I appreciate comments from venues, ticketing companies and patrons of all types of events.