Change can be a good thing. As time moves on, society has to evolve. And it’s up to the people to keep up with the times. However, all change isn’t for the best, especially the one that will hurt diehard college football fans in Michigan. Everyone knew it was coming. We all saw the trial runs at Little Caesars Arena with the Pistons and Red Wings. Now, the University of Michigan (U of M) is going all the way in.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we’ve entered the mobile ticket era.
Early Tuesday morning, U of M’s athletic department announced its transition to mobile ticketing beginning this Fall. Per the release, mobile tickets will apply to all sports except football season ticket renewals. Additionally, the school will discontinue the “print-at-home” options as well.
What a dumb idea!
U of M is deciding to go through with this change for one logical reason. And that is health and safety for all parties. It’s very understandable when you think about it in that aspect. COVID-19 shut down sports attendance worldwide. So creating a contactless ticket delivery method is ideal.
However, it doesn’t mean I nor any other fan has to like it.
Printed tickets are more than just entry to a ballpark, arena, or stadium. Those tickets are keepsakes. Treasured memorabilia. Something that you can show your kids or grandkids one day and proudly say, “I was there.” And then, when they don’t believe your story, you can open a shoebox full of old tickets.
I remember my first time attending Michigan Stadium for a football game. The Wolverines were facing Western Michigan Broncos, and my Aunt Shirley gifted me a pair of tickets. The level of excitement I had was through the roof. It was such a memorable moment that I purchased tons of new U of M gear. Heck, as I am typing this, I remember I went with my good friend Lauren Speed-Hamilton. After Michigan laid the smackdown on the Broncos, I made sure to do one thing right after the game.
I put the ticket away in a safe place. And I still have that ticket to this day. Other tickets I still have in my possession are all of my tickets from WWE Monday Night Raw events that I attended. I can look at one ticket and remember when Brock Lesnar put the boots on Chris Jericho. Then I can look at another ticket and remember that Shane McMahon returned to WWE for the first time in seven years. Both events took place at the now-defunct Joe Louis Arena.
My tickets are the only memories in my possession from those events.
U of M is going to do what they feel is best for all parties involved. And fans are going to have to understand how. However, it would be nice if these universities (and professional teams) considered the fans’ feelings. Like, consider the young kid going to the first pro or college game with their parent(s)? What if that kid doesn’t have a mobile device? Where is their memory of the game?
After Michigan released the news, I spoke with a former Michigan football player, who requested anonymity, about the decision. While he didn’t state whether he was for or against the decision, he understood my reservations. He then began to share stories of the tickets he and his family still had in their possession.
Bottom line, Michigan’s eco-friendly decision isn’t necessarily a fan-friendly decision.