SeatGeek Embraces Paperless Tickets

Ticket sales startup SeatGeek is the latest company joining the move to paperless tickets.

Thanks to a new feature, when you buy a ticket on SeatGeek, you’ll no longer have to print out a PDF or (shudder) wait for someone to put your physical tickets in the mail. Instead, the tickets will be delivered through the app, giving you a mobile barcode that will be scanned when you reach the venue.

Co-founder Jack Groetzinger said this type of mobile ticketing is live with around 85 percent of the venues on SeatGeek. Those venues were probably moving in this direction already, since the SeatGeek tickets are taking advantage of their existing hardware.

SeatGeek ticket

“We’ve tried to think through every little part of the experience to make it great for fans,” Groetzinger added. For example, cell reception can get pretty unreliable when you’re approaching a crowded stadium, so SeatGeek caches the ticket in the app. That means you can use your ticket even if you don’t have a decent cell connection.

He also predicted that paperless tickets will help eliminate one of the more annoying parts of the process, namely standing outside stadium, waiting for your friends’ to arrive so you can give them their tickets. But to really get rid of those moments, SeatGeek will also need a ticket-sharing feature — something the company says it’s working on.

As you can see in the chart below, SeatGeek has already seen a dramatic shift to digital tickets. Groetzinger acknowledged that some people still think of a classic, hard-stock ticket and think, “That’s what a ticket looks like,” but in his view, that’s just nostalgia. (Or, to put it more bluntly, “Frankly, it’s kind of bullshit.”) Sure, fans might still want hard stock tickets for special events like the Super Bowl, but in his view, by-and-large they’re going to disappear.

SeatGeek chart