The tickets, which were sent out before Monday’s agreement between National Football League’s team owners and players to end the lockout, came with no information other than the game number.
No date, no time, no opponent.
Washington Redskins fans got similar treatment — their tickets have no dates or times, and instead of game numbers, they include the opponents’ team names.
“We’re going to be prepared for people coming to the games with the wrong tickets. Our biggest goal is to communicate with people before this happens,” said Baker Koppelman, vice president of ticket sales and operations for the Ravens.
The Ravens sent out emails to season ticketholders on Tuesday explaining the situation and why the team could not wait to print its tickets until after the NFL agreed on a labor deal.
“It was not our first choice, but we are in an unusual year,” the email from Koppelman said.
The printing process takes two months to complete, and without knowing what the outcome of the collective bargaining agreement talks would be, the team had to move forward with the ticket-making process or risk not having the tickets ready in time.
Koppelman said most fans don’t seem worried about the lack of information on the tickets, but some have sent emails or called with their concerns. One fan complained that he keeps the tickets for sentimental reasons and this would make it harder to identify the games.
“The people emailing us are probably the least likely people to bring the wrong ticket,” Koppelman said. “It’s upset them enough to contact us that they will probably make sure they get it right.”
Season ticketholder Thomas Schild said he noticed the difference when he got his tickets in the mail, but he had no worries that he would mix them up.
“Ravens fans are pretty smart,” the Rockville lawyer said. “We can figure it out.”
Schild said that after he received the team email Tuesday, he downloaded and printed out the photo guide PDF showing game tickets with dates and times. He said he put it with his tickets and will cross-reference the print out with the tickets, matching up the photo of linebacker Ray Lewis on the ticket for Game 3 with his picture on the printed guide.
Koppelman said Game 3 is where things could get tricky for fans. That’s because the tickets for games 1 and 2 are for admittance to preseason games, while Game 3 is actually the first game of the regular season.
No plan has been devised for fans that bring the wrong ticket to the stadium on game day, but Koppelman said the team will work with fans on a case-by-case basis. The team has a usual remedy for season ticketholders who forget tickets — they must show identification at the box office and pay a $20 fee to have their tickets reprinted.
Fans who buy tickets for single games directly from the Ravens will not have a problem with their tickets, which will include dates, times and opponents.
The Game 1–Game 3 mix-up could become an issue if season ticketholders sell tickets to individual games through the secondary market or on their own. Fans could get duped into buying what they think is a ticket to the first game of the regular season against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but really is a preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
“Obviously, in that situation, some of it falls on the person purchasing the ticket,” Koppelman said. “There’s a little bit of buyer beware here.”
Asked about the potential problems for Ravens fans buying tickets from others, Glenn Lehrman, head of communications for the online ticket marketplace StubHub!, said his customer service representatives will be ready for calls from fans.
“While this isn’t an ideal situation, we presume that the Ravens decided to print before the lockout was over, and can empathize with the unique situation they were in,” he said in an email.
Ravens fan Lori Ring said she was just glad to receive her tickets because that meant that the team knew there would be football this season.
“I think it was a smart move because it got tickets into the hands of people who have already paid,” she said. “I’m sure if there is a mess up that they’ll figure out how to rectify it.”