DENVER — If you're planning on going to Saturday's Denver Broncos preseason game or any other game this year and you have a paper ticket at home, you've been scammed.
The Broncos have been using mobile ticketing for a few years, but the 2018 season is the first year they aren't offering print-at-home options.
You wouldn't think it would be a big deal, seeing as concerts have already moved to mobile-only and airlines have primarily used mobile-only tickets.
If you don't have a smartphone, the Broncos will help you enter a game at the ticket window on the south side of the stadium or answer questions for you at help tents around the stadium.
Some season ticket holders requested an Radio-frequency identification card that has all their tickets loaded onto it. Most fans will have to access their tickets through the Denver Broncos app.
"There's no more fraudulent tickets. There's no more left at home tickets. There's no more 'I lost my tickets'. Those tickets are now on your phone," said Dennis Moore, Denver Broncos senior vice president of sales and marketing. "We had Taylor Swift here on May 25, due to their concert promoter that was 100 percent mobile, with very, very few issues."
Digital ticketing also means the Broncos will know more about their fan base. Prior to the 2017 season, the Broncos revoked the accounts of some season ticket holders who had sold the tickets to all their games. The way for the Broncos to have tracked that is through mobile ticketing and online transfers through the NFL Ticket Exchange. However, during last season, season ticket holders could have avoided detection by selling their tickets offline and forwarding the print-at-home pdf to the buyer. In that scenario, the Broncos would not have known the account holder wasn't the one who actually attended the game.
This appears to be a way to track the use of every ticket.
"It is not," Moore said. "You have hit on something that is important to the mobile ticketing initiative, which is that does mean we are going to know who our customers are. Clearly, mobile ticketing allows us to know who is attending the games."
The NFL is requiring mobile ticketing this year for all 32 NFL teams.
"We don't think that mobile ticketing will have a negative impact on lines, and we think long term, as our customers get accustomed to this process, it will only make it quicker," Moore said.
For fans who worry their phone battery won't last until kickoff, the Broncos have installed solar-powered free charging stations around the stadium. You enter your phone number, a kiosk opens, you plug your phone in, close the kiosk, go tailgate and get your phone before the game by reentering your phone number.
There will also be help tents with portable chargers.
"If you're worried about your phone dying, your battery dying, come pick up a free phone charger at some of these tents," Moore said.
As the Broncos look at mobile ticketing from a fan experience, what about from a app privacy point of view? What access are you giving the Broncos by downloading its app and using it to enter Broncos games?
"In order to create an account via account manager, which is Ticketmaster, you are simply providing a name and an email address," Moore said.
"Certainly, the mobile ticketing app is collecting other data, and I guess, one of the major concerns is it's collecting location data," said Metro State University computer science professor Steve Beaty.
"It takes a little extra effort, but go into the settings (on your phone) and its locations, and these sorts of things for the app itself, and turn those things off that you're not comfortable sharing," Beaty said.
For iPhones, click on Settings, scroll down until you find the "Broncos 365" app and then change the setting under "location" to either "never," "while using app" or "always."
For Samsung Galaxies, click on Settings, "apps," then find the "Broncos 365" app, click on "permissions" and adjust if you want to app to have access to your camera, contacts, location, phone and/or storage.
"Maybe we're comfortable sharing with the Broncos and the folks who developed the software for them, but when they're broken into, are we comfortable sharing it much more widely than that?" Beaty questioned.
Beaty believes it's a "when" and not "if" your personal data is compromised.
"Our phones know so much about us, they know all of our friends, they have all of our pictures, they have all of our texts and emails and, of course, location," Beaty said. "In this particular case, this company (Yinzcam) has an email address that you can write them and say, 'Look, I don't want you to give my data to the subsidiaries and affiliates."
You can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.