Fans heading to the Bears’ preseason game on Saturday at Soldier Field should remember to charge their cellphones.
The team’s first home appearance of the year will also be their first run-through on a new NFL-wide policy scrapping PDF, or print-at-home, tickets in favor of mobile ones. Fans will have to present tickets on their phones unless they request a hard copy from the team ahead of time.
Season-ticket holders have still received card-stock tickets, but single-game buyers will have to download their tickets via the Bears or Ticketmaster apps, or through their phone’s web browser. Screenshots won’t do, either.
Fans can also have hard tickets left at will call, or pony up to have them mailed.
The Cubs ditched PDF tickets last season to crack down on counterfeiters. The White Sox, Bulls and Blackhawks all still give fans the print-at-home option.
Max Waisvisz, partner at the West Loop broker Gold Coast Tickets, said he didn’t expect the new policy to cause many headaches at the gate, suggesting the mobile-only policy was one step on the way to higher-tech ticketing that could soon be based on facial recognition or fingerprinting.
“People have to change with the times,” Waisvisz said. “The bottom line is the technology adapts, and we’ve seen in recent years that consumers adapt so much faster than ever before as their phones get more and more advanced.”
Fans can still sell tickets through third-party re-sale websites.
To avoid connectivity issues, the Bears advise fans to download tickets to their digital wallets and share with everyone in their party ahead of game day — and to come to the stadium with a full phone battery.
Fans without cellphones should call (847) 615-2327, or contact email@example.com.