The Chicago Blackhawks are jumping into the future and going all digital for season tickets this year, according to Danny Ecker of Crain's Chicago. The move puts the Hawks among a growing list of professional sports teams to no longer print stubs for season tickets holders.
The team sent a letter to season ticket holders on Sept. 1 informing them of the policy change, which puts the Hawks in line with the Bulls and White Sox among Chicago sports teams not to print season tickets. The Cubs and Bears still give printed stubs to their season ticket holders, although the former has a program that incentivizes buyers to go digital. The Sox also offer the option of special printed tickets for an extra fee.
In the past, the Blackhawks had given the option of print or digital tickets. Now printed tickets will only be sold at the United Center box office.
There are a number of reasons for the Hawks to make to the move. "Teams say managing the ticket process through a team site not only helps people more easily share tickets when they can't use them, but also protects against fraud and counterfeit tickets," according to Crain's. Printing all of those tickets probably isn't cheap, either.
And there's more. By having fans use digital tickets on their smartphones to swipe into the arena, the Hawks will get data on who is attending games and what kinds of fans the team is attracting. Crain's says that's partly why the Bulls and White Sox -- both owned by Jerry Reinsdorf -- went digital two years ago.
For fans, this is notable because, to be honest, printed tickets are pretty awesome. As someone who used to collect all of the tickets from every sporting event and concert I went to in a drawer in my bedroom, the idea that fans will likely soon be deprived of that option is kind of a bummer.
It's understandable, though, and hey, save the trees and whatnot. As long as the Blackhawks are putting a winner on the ice, I doubt season ticket holders will gripe too much about losing their printed tix.