“This is an NFL initiative that all teams must implement by 2019, but we’re excited to move forward this season," said Ravens president Dick Cass.
The Ravens on Thursday announced a slew of modernizing changes to M&T Bank Stadium’s operations for the upcoming season.
What could be considered both relief for the forgetful and the bane of collectors and sentimental people alike, the Ravens are doing away with paper tickets from here on out, beginning with the 2018 season.
Fans can access their tickets through the Ravens Mobile App, which can be accessed on a smartphone in its corresponding app store. Using the app, fans can display, sell and send tickets easily.
For those without a smartphone, there’s no need to fret. If the only option is to use a print-out, Ravens ticket officials will still accept them and will station additional ticket officials at gate entrances in the coming seasons to help.
Nonetheless, the all-encompassing app is meant to discourage further use of printed PDF tickets.
“The reason for that is the instances of fraud were getting out of hand,” Ravens senior vice president of ticket sales and operations Baker Koppelman said. “The PDF ticket is very easy to manipulate and it was something causing a lot of trouble for fans.”
Koppelman said he recognized this would be a tough transition for some, and said he imagined it would take a year or two for all fans to completely accept. As a bonus, though, the change is expected to cut down wait times to get into the stadium on game day.
The biggest upside of mobile-only tickets is they’re nearly impossible to lose. Whereas a physical ticket could easily slip out of a pocket, or worse, be stolen, digital tickets are much more difficult to misplace — if your phone is stolen or lost, you have a bigger problem than not being able to get into the game.
The change will have an indirect but likely significant effect on the scalper industry as well, as it will become increasingly difficult to sell tickets on the streets around M&T Bank Stadium.
As for season-ticket holders, each has or will within a few days receive a black box holding a PSL Owner Season Ticket card, which resembles a credit card, is worn around the neck by lanyard and can be used to like a hotel key pass to get into games.
“[Digital], that’s the new world,” Ravens president Dick Cass said, “and we have to be part of the new world. It’s a big change for our fans, but in the end, I think everyone’s going to like it very much.”
According to Cass, a mobile-only ticketing system is not a Ravens-only idea. The NFL requires each stadium to implement digital ticketing by 2019.
“I think it’s fantastic,” said Reggie Spence, a season-ticket holder since 2001, who had the new card hanging from his neck.
Spence, 58, lives in Baltimore but travels often, and said he found it taxing to sell some of his four seats in the past, having to meet up with strangers to pass them off in person or mail them, which takes time and money.
“I love this idea,” he said. “It’s on my phone, I don’t have to run back to the house. It’s much easier as a fan.”
Inside the stadium bowl, the Ravens also unveiled their new 4K ultra-high definition video boards nestled in each of the four corners of the top level, part of a three-year investment of approximately $120 million to improve the fan experience. The boards will display fantasy stats, out of town scores, pump-ups and in-game stats.
“I think it’s a great way to enhance the game experience for the fans,” Cass said. “It closes the stadium in a way, too. We’re hoping it’ll keep the sound at bay and make it even louder.”
The Ravens have also overhauled their in-stadium WiFi, which will now be able to handle 10 gigabits per second, a 500 percent increase from 2017. Additionally, escalators and elevators to the 500 level are being added, with the first expected to be ready by October this season.
They also announced the stadium’s new sound system will be ready for the start of the season and new “corner notch” suites in the upper bowl are being added, at least two of which will be ready this season. The club-level concessions stands and bar/lounge areas are being upgraded, as well as the stadium’s kitchens.