For those unfamiliar with Gametime, it is an app available on App Store and Google Play that seeks to change the way we buy and use tickets for sports events with developers describing it as a way to “turn your phone into a ticket”. Released by Gametime United Inc., it has been out for a while but has recently been updated.
The idea of the app is that it allows you to search for sporting events that you want to attend and to book tickets, but it’s all mobile and focuses on the last minute with tickets for sell up to 90 minutes after a game starts. Instead of receiving an email confirmation (usually with a barcode) and printing it out, you have an electronic ticket created by the app. So you arrive at the sports venue and present your phone as the ticket. The technology isn’t groundbreaking but it is useful in that it is a quicker and easier way to manage tickets; you are less likely to lose your phone than you are to lose pieces of paper you’ve printed out and needless to say it is a time saving device.
But this isn’t the only selling point of this app; Gametime wants to be the lastminute.com of the sports ticketing world by offering last minute tickets at discount prices. When you open the app, you are presented with upcoming sports events (whether its basketball, hockey or baseball etc.) and it shows the fixture along with start time, seats and the price. There is a double-click checkout which makes this process pretty fast and straightforward.
Sports fans have reported positive experiences with Gametime, not least because it provides another way to buy tickets without using Ticketmaster or StubHub who have a monopoly on this industry and have not always delivered great customer satisfaction. Navigating traditional ticketing websites can be a frustrating experience, but with this app tickets can be bought in just a few minutes. Without the need for printing, you buy it and you are ready to go. You can transfer tickets too via email or SMS text.
The price of the tickets is a big factor – whilst Gametime doesn’t control the cost of tickets, it does work with the individual teams to provide access to them. Tickets for games due to start in the next few minutes or hours can be bought for well under $10 in some cases. If you know when your favorite team is playing and the venue is unlikely to be sold out, you can turn up to the venue just before it starts, open the app, buy the ticket at the lowest price and walk in. This is unthinkable with Ticketmaster or StubHub.
The recent updates mean that the app is quicker but there is still work to do regarding the printing issues. There are still teams that do not accept mobile technology, which means that at the venue they cannot accept the electronic ticket on your phone. This means you still have to print. Given that printing from a phone is not realistic, many fans are in effect excluded from using this app. This affects games for New York Yankees, Boston Celtics, Oakland Raiders, Miami Heat, amongst others. These are big teams and if this app is to reach ubiquity, they need to get on-board. That said, moving to mobile technology is definitely the direction of travel and it seems as though it is just a matter of time.
The best technological developments are ones that seem so obvious that they should have been invented years ago – this is one those. Just remember to keep your phone charged!