Padres limits Petco park ticket sales with geo-fencing technology

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In a brutal attempt to keep Los Angeles Dodgers fans out of Petco Park during this week’s NLDS, the San Diego Padres are rolling out a form of geo-fencing technology known as purchase restrictions based on the location.

The Padres team website posted a review for potential Game 3 and Game 4 ticket purchasers (if required) at Petco Park. Purchases would be limited to “verified” Padres fans, members of Padres Insider, and people with mailing or IP addresses from areas and counties surrounding San Diego.

“Orders from residents outside (geo-restricted areas) will be canceled without notice and refunds will be given,” the Padres website said.

Regions eligible to purchase Padres-Dodgers tickets include San Diego County, Imperial County and southern Orange County, which includes San Clemente, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Beach and San Juan Capistrano. However, the odds of banning Dodgers fans — who have notoriously invaded Petco Park in recent years — are slim given that southern Orange County has a rabid Dodgers fan base and because Dodgers fans can always buy tickets from secondary market sites.

Last season, Dodgers fans went crazy for a game at Petco Park.

This form of geo-fencing technology has seen exponential growth among sports franchises and caught the eye ahead of last January’s Rams-49ers NFC Championship Game at SoFi Stadium. With 49ers fans usually outnumbering Rams fans in Los Angeles, the Rams’ website posted this disclaimer up to a week before the playoff game: “Game public sales at SoFi Stadium d ‘Inglewood, CA will be limited to residents of the Greater Los Angeles Area…Residency will be based on credit card billing at time of payment.’

The Rams later lifted the ban on pre-game tickets, but the Padres, as of now, are sticking to theirs and deploying all the technology at their disposal. For one, ticket providers have burgeoning software that tracks IP addresses. Another potential tactic – previously deployed by the Tennessee Titans – is to delay delivery of digital tickets until just two days before an event to limit sales opportunities.

A third potential team tactic uses SafeTixa platform used by Ticketmaster that tracks the lifecycle of a ticket to build a subscription base and thereby drive fans away from opposing teams.

“Let’s say I have a ticket and I want to give it to a friend,” Eventellect’s commercial director Kate Howard told SportTechie in January. “With SafeTix I can’t take a screenshot of it. I can’t print it – because the barcode rotates and changes every 15 seconds. So when you create technology like this where it can’t just be given, hand-held or captured by screenshot or text, you actually have to physically give someone else’s information.”

“And then that gets captured by the team, and they can use that information to retarget that person who attended the game as a guest or as a friend who may not be a holder of a subscription that they can target for their minipacks or subscriptions, etc.”

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