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Ticketmaster, Dallas Cowboys fight fraud through mobile ticketing

The National Football League’s Dallas Cowboys, along with their ticketing partner Ticketmaster, have found an answer to their efforts against fraud via a mobile platform.

Looking at data culled from the 2015-2016 season, the second season that it aggressively drove for mobile ticket adoption among its fans, proves that a shift to mobile ticketing can reap myriad benefits for professional sports teams. And with the Cowboys turning out by far the most total and per-game home attendees last season, the statistics indicate that mobile ticketing can prevent fraud on the largest scale.

“The biggest challenge of print-at-home PDFs is that scammers can access and copy legitimate tickets that are scanned at the stadium, and when the real fan arrives their ticket is rendered invalid,” said Doug Dawson, vice president of ticket sales and service for the Dallas Cowboys.

“Mobile entry removes the risk with print at home tickets and is easy for a fan to use. “

Protecting purchases
Fraud with PDF printouts, which is a common practice for online purchasers since the decline of the box office, plagues many professional teams’ ticketing departments.

This past season, the Cowboys continued a commitment to Ticketmaster’s verified tickets technology, which is primarily hosted on mobile. The results were a boon to all parties.

Mobile entry adoption would make up nearly 21 percent of all attendance for the Dallas Cowboys during the 2015-16 season, compared to an average of 3 to 5 percent among the league at large. The measure has directly addressed instances of fraud sourced from printed PDFs and provides a foundation for both Ticketmaster and the Cowboys’ initiatives in maintaining consumer trust in their transactions.

Much of the other data offered by the study illuminates problems that could be addressed in further case studies. The most remarkable metric was that while single game ticketholders leveraged mobile entry at a whopping rate of 83 percent, season ticketholders only did so at a meager 5.7 percent.

The disparity is explained by a deep-rooted practice that teams like to engage in with their season ticket holders, but that doesn’t prevent both Ticketmaster and the Cowboys from keeping their eyes on them.

“Before the start of every season, season ticket holders are sent commemorative paper tickets,” Mr. Dawson said. “Due to the popularity of these souvenir keepsakes, season ticket holders often use these more frequently than mobile tickets for entry.”

“Through continued education on the benefits of mobile entry, we expect to increase its usage by season ticket holders in the coming years.”

The results look promising for both the Cowboys and Ticketmaster

Mobile expansion
Ticketing has been a hot commodity on the mobile platform recently, with major online retailers gearing up against each other in the form of partnerships (see story). Many innovations in the mobile ticketing sector center around concerns about fraud, and the victor of matchups that are beginning to crystallize— such as the one between Ticketmaster and StubHub— will most likely be determined by which company best eases consumer anxiety about fraud.

The sanctity of the capricious resale market is also of major concern, and companies such the aforementioned StubHub are addressing it with maneuvers similar to its partnership with the National Basketball Association’s Philadelphia 76ers, integrating primary and secondary ticket sales into a mobile hub for all Sixers ticket transactions (see story).

“Mobile is big for us,” said Ismail El Shareef, senior vice president of fan experience and open platform at Ticketmaster. “So far this year, we’re seeing over 60% mobile traffic.

“Mobile makes it easier for fans by bringing the transaction closer to the point of discovery. Mobile also helps teams, venues and artists build a relationship with the fan, creating a better customer experience through the entire event journey.”