In recent years, there has been a new ticketing phenomenon blooming. Teams and venues are looking for ways to make the guest experience more convenient. One of their solutions is garnering some backlash due to its complexity. However, if you dig deeper into the issue, the concept could actually be an accessibility miscue.
Flash Seats, which are powered by AXS, are digital-based tickets that are used to attend games or shows. When someone buys tickets, that person’s credit card or State I.D. is his or her ticket to the event. In addition, if consumers have the Flash Seats mobile app, their tickets are stored on there and that will work at the gate. Event-goers must bring one of these to the arena gate to access their tickets. According to flashseats.com, the ticket system “offers an innovative, cutting-edge solution combining digital venue access, a branded marketplace for electronic event access rights, and a retail-class behavioral marketing system for the sports and entertainment industries.” Flash Seats is advertised as a way to easily transfer tickets to anyone and taking away the possibility of stolen tickets. There are also ways to get into events if you forget your cards. For instance, you can go to the venue’s box office so they can verify your tickets.
The Flash Seat system, which the Timberwolves and Lynx both partnered with in 2015, sparked a lawsuit last year in which some fans say Flash Seats make it difficult to sell and transfer tickets. It is not known what the outcome was but the lawsuit cited that Flash Seats provide “unlawful limitations” that could be a pain to some. Fans were not happy about how hard it was to re-sell or transfer tickets to their friends. Timberwolves and Lynx officials rebuked these claims by saying: “The Timberwolves and Lynx organizations are confident that Flash Seats supplies the best possible experience for our fans.”
With that said, fans with disabilities could have an unpleasant experience using Flash Seats. Some with physical disabilities have a difficult time manipulating multiple cards, and they might not have personal credit cards that can be used. They may have to rely on their caregiver’s card in which it is not always available to them. Recently, I used a credit card to purchase Timberwolves tickets for a game at Target Center that I did not have access to that day. So, on game day, I had to go through hoops and try to switch which card would work as my ticket. I succeeded but it was time consuming and could have been prevented. People with disabilities may not be able to reach their cards, and placing them on their trays could have bad consequences. In my opinion, having paper tickets is better than Flash Seats due to the fact that handing real tickets to a staff at the door would be much easier than figuring out how to attend an event with Flash Seats.
In the future, teams should look at adding ways to provide admittance for fans. Flash Seats can seem convenient at the forefront, but could be difficult when trying to use them. Organizations should hold off in partnering with Flash Seats until they find an easier solution. Providing the option of old-fashioned tickets to patrons would greatly improve the game day experience for all.
Written by: Michael L. Sack