Want to save next week's College Football Playoff national championship game ticket and hang it on the wall as a memento?
You will need to put a nail through your smartphone.
Monday's game between Alabama and Georgia will mark the first major championship sporting event in the United States where most fans will not be allowed to use paper tickets to get into the game. Rather, Ticketmaster - the official partner of the College Football Playoff - will require all but a select number of fans to use their Apple iOS and Android devices to gain entry into Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
“The use of mobile ticketing for this title game is to further increase the safety and convenience of both the ticketing process and mobile entry for fans,” Ticketmaster Ashley Dos Santos told USA TODAY Sports in an email.
“Tickets will only be printed onsite as needed --- the first step for troubleshooting on game day is that everyone will be shown how to pull up their tickets.”
While mobile ticketing potentially could curtail counterfeit tickets, it also creates another layer for fans looking to buy and sell tickets through secondary ticket market sites like StubHub and SeatGeek.
Fans would need to log into the Ticketmaster site or use the company's smartphone apps to transfer tickets before the game, instead of simply transferring the tickets to a secondary ticket market site directly.
“That's not ideal for us,” StubHub spokesperson Cameron Papp told USA TODAY Sports. “You now have hurdles to jump through. What has resulted is less inventory for the game, which is in high demand already.”
Messages left for a College Football Playoff spokesperson by USA TODAY Sports were not returned Tuesday or Wednesday.
Tickets for the game are on pace to set a record for a College Football Playoff national championship game in terms of average price for the game.
As of Wednesday, only handful of seats on secondary ticket sites were going for less than $2,000.
Secondary ticket sites have been critical of the “closed loop” system increasingly employed by some teams and leagues who are partners with Ticketmaster.
The company, a subsidiary of Live Nation, has long been the primary ticket partner for many organizations, but Ticketmaster also runs it's own secondary ticket service, TM+.
A small number of paper tickets have been issued to VIPs, although general fans won't be able to print out tickets and bring those to the game to get into the event.
Dos Santos said fans with tickets to the game who don't own smartphones or whose smartphones die “can visit the box office on game day to get their tickets printed on normal ticket stock that can then be scanned into the venue.”
Ticketmaster suggested the following to ticket holders heading to the title game:
- Fully charging your phone and/or bringing a portable charger with you to the stadium
- Transferring tickets to all individual attendees before the game via Ticketmaster.com or our mobile app if attendees don't all arrive at the game together
- Using CFBPlayoff App to pull up the tickets in Apple Wallet or Google Wallet
“So while the box office option is available for fans as needed, we encourage game goers to be prepared as they gear up for game day to make the experience as seamless as possible,” Dos Santos said.