In the coming basketball season fans of the Miami Heat do not have to print their home game tickets anymore. Better said, the NBA team will not accept paper tickets at all.

If you want to enter the AmericanAirlines Arena, you must use your smartphone. The Miami Heat announced that fans can access their tickets via the App Store and Google Play Store.

What happens when fans do not have their smartphone or it’s not working? Then the fans can present their ID card at the ticket center on the spot.

“All our fans are used to this technology-driven interaction,” said Matthew Jafarian. Jafarian is Vice President of Digital Strategy and Innovation at Miami Heat. Jafarian told SportTechie: “We’re leading the idea of the Miami Heat. For fans it should be digital and uncomplicated to get into the arena and do other things ”

Mobile tickets offer numerous advantages

These other things that Jafarian talks about are numerous: within the app, fans can buy, sell and reserve tickets. They can also get results that include listings, statistics, and exclusive Heat content. The app also offers a “mobile wallet” feature, supported by PayPal and American Express. Fans can thus use the app to buy merchandise as well as food and drinks in the Arena. On top of all this, there are discounts and shorter waiting times at the point-of-sale.

For all functions, “we have to focus on the experience,” says Jafarian. The Miami Heat was one of the first teams to use BeyondCurious and Built.io’s Digital Acceleration Lab. The accelerator helped Jafarian and his team look at the app from a fan perspective and learned how to make it as user-friendly as possible. The result: one of every three fans used mobile entry during the 2016/17 season. This was a 200 per cent growth compared to the 2015/16 season.

Some fans worry about losing a potential souvenir for special games or championships. Heat CMO Michael McCullough is not concerned. He is sure that his club offers many other souvenirs.

Another advantage of “mobile only” ticketing: security. For criminals it is more difficult to steal or duplicate a mobile ticket. Fans do not have to worry about forgetting their tickets at home. Fans can share their ticket with friends by giving their name and email. According to the website, fans who bought their tickets via Ticketmaster can register with their account within the Heat App.

Miami Heat personalizes the fan experience

Orlando City FC have implemented a similar system. The club uses “Presence” from Ticketmaster. It could help solve the problem of ticket fraud. The Heat uses a technology that precedes Presence, but is now thinking about an upgrade.

The Heat managers are constantly working on providing a better fan experience. The focus of their current activities is to allow easier and more efficient access to the game. In the winter, Jafarian would like to introduce a system which would allow for tailor-made news to be sent to fans based on their demographic data.

“We want to send exclusive messages based on who you are. If you are the father of a family of four, we want to offer you the appropriate content, not the one for a single young professional. We offer personalized experiences based on your preferences. “