Paperless Tickets: So Far, So Very Good

The Verizon Arena (formerly Alltel Arena) in North Little Rock, Ark., signed on as a beta site for Ticketmaster’s paperless ticketing in January, and for GM Michael Marion, no news about the service has been the best news so far.

“It’s been amazingly problem free,” he told Pollstar, explaining that the new system has proved quick and easy, and lines at the Verizon Arena haven’t been slowed by the process.

“The good news is nobody’s said anything about it at all,” he said. “It’s not causing problems and it’s working very well.”

While the venue will be one of numerous stops on Miley Cyrus’ upcoming paperless ticketed arena tour, it’s gone paperless on a smaller scale for several of its shows this year including AC/DC, Brad Paisley, Kenny Chesney, Jeff Dunham and Chris Tomlin.

When concertgoers who purchase paperless tickets – generally available for the prime 3,000 to 4,000 seats per show – enter the building with a photo ID, their credit cards are swiped through a scanner that prints out their seat location.

But just because the system has been a success for those select seats doesn’t mean the arena has plans to leave old-fashioned paper tickets behind any time soon.

Marion explained that aside from the anomalies like Miley Cyrus, he doesn’t see a real need to make every ticket in the house paperless.

“I’m still in the mind that most shows could probably be fine with just those best 3,000 or 4,000 seats because that’s the ones the scalpers go after,” he said.

Admittedly never a fan of scalpers, Marion testified in front of Arkansas legislators earlier this year regarding the ticketing process when a measure to prohibit speculative secondary ticket sales was introduced. The venue also aided the state attorney general’s office in 2007 during an investigation regarding violations of scalping laws.

For Marion, employing paperless technology to get good tickets into the hands of fans at prices artists want just makes sense.

“I’d rather see somebody go to three or four shows a year because they’re able to get the price on the ticket as opposed to going to one show per year because they had to pay $700 for a ticket,” he said. “That’s our motivation behind this – the fans can get a hold of these tickets at a reasonable price.”