Crain's Cleveland Business (08/05/15) Woznak, Zachary
For the first time, all PGA Tour fans will be able to use virtual passes on their smartphones to enter the Firestone Country Club for the Bridgestone Invitational. Ticketmaster made the technology available to the PGA Tour last year, but was limited to grounds tickets. This year, the feature is available to both Champion Club and grounds ticket holders, allowing fans to transfer tickets to friends and family electronically. Ticketmaster introduced mobile tickets in July 2011, with some sports implementing the new service by 2012. The PGA Tour first considered the merits of mobile ticketing against the requirements for employee training, communication, and marketing. Ticketmaster says more than 20 percent of total ticket sales for all events are mobile, but last year only five percent of the ticket holders at Bridgestone were mobile, while figures are not yet available for this year. Although the PGA does not profit from mobile tickets, it does want to offer its fans the convenience. “[The fans] want that luxury,” says Jamie Hall, head of the PGA Tour's championship management ticket operations. “No longer do they have to go to will call and leave two tickets or meet [someone] at a destination to hand them the tickets. They can do it all digitally.” Mobile tickets also eliminate problems with lost or forgotten tickets. Hall says the Tour plans to continue with its expansion of digital services, offering complete mobile-entry options within the next few years.