Ticats fans outraged over team’s move to e-tickets. But should they be?

Last week, the Ticats announced their season ticket plans for the upcoming season. This usually comes with very little fanfare, but does serve as a nice little reminder to fans that the season is quickly approaching.

But this year things are a bit different. The Ticats announced that they were going completely digital starting this season, joining a growing list of teams that includes the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Ottawa Redblacks, that are forgoing printed tickets in favour of e-tickets.

The reaction amongst the Ticats faithful was both swift and harsh. If you check the Ticats fan forum or even the comment section on 3DownNation, you will find a healthy amount of fans outraged at the change.

In a world that is increasingly going digital — you are reading this on a website, after all, not in a newspaper or magazine — this move was inevitable, and should not have been all that surprising. The team allowed for tickets to be downloaded to smartphones midway through last season and after the kinks were worked out, it proved to be a success (I know from first-hand experience). The move to entirely digital tickets was the next logical step.

Complaints from fans stretch from people not having access to a computer or smartphone to feeling ripped off that they now have to pay for physical tickets on top of the price they already pay for the seats themselves.

The anger is somewhat understandable, but it needs to be understood that the team isn’t doing this with the hopes of ticking people off. They must know that fans are already printing tickets from home or using mobile devices to get into the games. They wouldn’t make this move unless they were sure that most fans would be on board.

Yes, there has been a very vocal contingent of fans online who are bemoaning the loss of a physical ticket, but the irony of that is that they are using the Internet to complain about, basically, needing to use the Internet.

I do understand the anger about paying an extra $25 for team-printed tickets since they used to come with buying your season ticket package; however, now they are going to be collectables, and if you really want them, paying for it should not be that big of a deal. If you don’t want them, you can simply print the tickets for yourself at home. The idea that the money you spend on tickets means you are provided with a physical ticket is not something I have ever really believed. You pay for tickets to get a seat, not to get a fancy piece of paper with a picture on it.

Now, there are fans out there that do not have computers or smartphones, especially the older ones which make up a fairly large chunk of the Ticats’, and most CFL teams’, fan base. While it is unfortunate that they will have to figure out how to get their tickets, possibly by shelling out the extra $25, the number of people without computer access is miniscule. Complaining about not being able to print a ticket at home is like saying you are mad that TSN, not CBC, shows every CFL game. Computers are as ubiquitous as televisions and telephones. They are a part of everyday life, and not having one puts you in the minority, not the other way around. Besides, if you do not have one yourself, you probably know someone that does, be it a family member or a friend.

Whenever change happens, you will always find people that will complain about it. That is not a judgment on anyone, just a statement of fact. All change is met with resistance, but this is a change that many should have seen coming, and if they didn’t, they still have to accept it.

E-tickets are going to be the new standard for ticket delivery going forward. Fans can complain all they want, but that will change nothing. Not to sound too harsh, but it is get on board or get left behind.

Josh Smith has been writing about the Ticats and the CFL since 2010 and was sporting his beard way before it was cool. Will be long after, too.