Nearly gone are the days of ticket stubs and buying tickets the day of an event. More and more entertainment venues, sports arenas and airports are making the switch to online ticketing.
According to Straits Research, the global online event ticketing market size was valued at $34.6 billion in 2022. It is expected to reach $64.68 billion by 2031.
In spite of having received attention from regulators, including Congress, several state attorney generals’ office and the Federal Trade Commission, complaints about ticket purchasing experiences persist.
Lawmakers and consumers have accused ticketing companies generally of charging inflated fees on top of ticket prices, obscuring those fees from customers and masking how many tickets are actually available to fans.
It’s not all trouble, though. Forbes reports online ticketing to eliminate or greatly reduce fraudulent tickets by monitoring who has which tickets and how many times they can switch hands.
As the Creston Community School District moved to a cashless system this year, purchasing tickets through Bound is increasing.
Creston Activities Director Scott Driskell said it has been working much better this year. “Nearly everyone has either purchased their ticket online beforehand or they have used a card at the door,” he said. “Our wait time in lines is literally non-existent as people have been able to enter the games quickly and efficiently using either method.”
Though online ticketing is not required here with a card option at the gate, other event venues are going entirely online.
This year, Iowa State announced it would be using a new system to scan tickets and all tickets would be sent digitally.
One stipulation tripped up Cyclones fans — screenshots of the barcode would not work at the gate. The new system caused confusion week one as Iowa State hosted UNI, leading to long lines to get into Jack Trice Stadium.
Creston’s Brittney Smith went to the game with her husband Austin and their two young children.
“We waited in 100 degree weather with no shade or breeze for 40 minutes,” she recounted. “The new system for check in was horrible. We missed half of the first quarter.”
During their wait, people were fainting and throwing up from heat exhaustion.
“The elderly were going down even in line before the game,” Smith said. “I spent half the game helping paramedics haul people to the first aid room.”
After the fiasco, ISU Athletic Director Jamie Pollard sent an email stating, “After successfully piloting 20 turnstile scanners at Gate 2 a year ago, the decision was made to expand their use this season to Gates 1 and 3. Unfortunately, the combination of many fans arriving closer to kickoff, our staff’s inability to help fans understand the technology and the excessive heat, came together to create a perfect storm of poor customer service. Please accept my apology for the inconveniences we caused for many of you yesterday. We do appreciate your understanding and patience as we work through improvements for this week’s game.”
Smith said the idea could work, but it wasn’t well executed.
The government began to get more involved in the online ticketing process after the prelaunch of tickets for Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour crashed the Ticketmaster site.
In spite of Congress passing the Better Online Ticket Sales Act of 2016, bots used by professional ticket resellers clogged the website, causing ticket prices to skyrocket as demand went through the roof.
Many fans waited for hours to purchase presale tickets, battling glitches only to come up emptyhanded. Some Swifties have filed complaints and lawsuits against the company.
One thing online ticketing allows for is companies to re-engage with past customers through special presale offers and other deals tailored for them.
In addition, environmentalists promote digital transactions to lessen the use of paper and save trees.
Despite some fans missing the momento of a physical ticket, the event tickets market is expected to show a revenue growth of 9.7% in 2024.