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Most airlines have done away with paper tickets, and now a Cleveland company called Flash Seats is pushing the same concept for ballgames and concerts, to give fans more flexibility and teams greater control over the tickets they sell.
The patented Flash Seats system, used this past season by the Cleveland Cavaliers, lets fans buy electronic tickets. They enter an arena or concert venue by swiping a credit card or driver’s license that identifies them as the holder of a seat. The system then issues a paper guide to help them find the seats.
“This technology allows teams to take back control of their tickets,” said Samuel Gerace , chief executive of Flash Tickets.
Control is a big issue. Gerace said teams lose control of more than half of their paper tickets soon after the initial sale. He said 15 percent of an event’s tickets are typically resold by the original buyer, and 40 percent are transferred to someone else.
In Cleveland, participation in Flash Seats is voluntary. About 17 percent of season ticket holders used the system this past season, a percentage that Gerace said increased to 50 percent during the club’s strong playoff run into the NBA Finals. Gerace said he expects participation to rise to about 70 percent next season and eventually become mandatory.
“Eventually the ticket system will become paperless, but we’re still in a voluntary mode right now,” said Tad Harper , a spokesman for the Cavaliers.