The Miami Heat aren’t the first NBA team to institute digital ticketing options, but they’re the first to go all-in on cell phone tickets. ESPN’s master of brands Darren Rovell reported on Thursday that the Heat are moving to digital tickets for every home date in the 2017-18 season.
In a move that changes the way fans actually get to watch the game in person, Heat fans will need a cell phone to display their tickets on if they want to get past the ticket-takers.
The Miami Heat announced Thursday that fans who attend home games this upcoming season will only be able to get through the gate with tickets on their phones.
In doing so, the team becomes the first in the NBA with mobile-only entry. Other teams, like the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Cleveland Cavaliers, have mobile-only ticketing, but they permit fans to use a driver’s license and credit card to get in.
The move will save the team a bunch of money on printing, of course, but it also has a secondary benefit in that it almost completely eliminates the chance you’ll get scammed by a scalper just outside the door. Moving to digital ticketing entirely makes it easy to buy tickets on the secondary market, but in-person transactions are certainly much harder to make.
Fans who walk up to Miami’s AmericanAirlines Arena on game night will receive Heat tickets on their phones, even though they are at the box office.
In a statement, the Heat said they decided to adopt the system after finding that roughly one in three fans entered with a mobile ticket last season. The ticket on the phone is still transferable.
Rovell notes that the move also allows teams to “get valuable information” about the fan that actually ends up sitting in the seat come game time. That sounds kind of creepy, but probably not as bad as getting bogus tickets and ruining your night before it begins.