The Dodgers fielded plenty of questions Friday from season-ticket holders concerned about the team’s decision to eliminate the distribution of paper tickets. Instead, the Dodgers will provide bar codes that fans can print at home or scan directly from a smartphone at an automated turnstile.
The Times has heard from fans as well -- one called the decision “possibly the first misstep by Guggenheim Baseball” -- and we wanted to offer a few answers.
Q: My grandfather does not have a printer or a smartphone. How is he supposed to get into the game?
A: The Dodgers will provide paper tickets to any fan without access to a printer or smartphone, but they expect very few fans to fit into this category.
Q: I can use bar codes, but I prefer paper tickets. Will the Dodgers accommodate me?
A: They might, but not without first pitching you on the virtues of ticketless entry. The Dodgers have prepared a video to show season-ticket holders how the new system works. The keys for this season, they say, are ease of entry to Dodger Stadium and one-click forwarding of tickets to friends, clients, charities or Stub Hub.
Q: In a tweet, the Dodgers tagged the new program “blue going green.” Is this really about saving trees?
A: No. This is the first step toward what the Dodgers believe will be a significant upgrade in fan convenience. By next year, the Dodgers hope to issue every season-ticket customer a smart card, which fans can scan to enter the ballpark or buy food, drinks, or merchandise. The Dodgers also could load rewards -- a free Dodger dog, say, or a discount on jerseys -- directly onto the card.
Q: Do the Dodgers anticipate significant fan resistance?
A: No, once fans familiarize themselves with the new system. Team officials liken it to flying; airlines have all but eliminated paper tickets.
Q: When did the Dodgers decide to implement ticketless entry for this season?
A: Several fans told The Times they heard about the policy last fall. The Dodgers had a letter ready to send to ticket holders several weeks ago, but they said they needed the extra time to accommodate a change in ticketing partners and testing of the technology. They might have been better off to roll out the program on an optional basis -- or wait a year -- once the announcement was delayed until two days before February.