Many Orlando City SC season ticket holders received their 2015 ticket packages on Thursday. But there was a difference in how those who purchased the full slate of games in advance will enter games from years past. Instead of a ticket book, the commonplace form of athletic entrance in North America, Lions fans are receiving season ticket cards.
Season ticket books, while familiar in America, are not used in all other countries. In Europe, season ticket holders receive cards with information on the holder in place of ticket books. These cards are used almost like credit cards but hold tickets instead of currency.
While not common in the past, season ticket cards are becoming much more popular in America. Most MLS teams, taking a cue from sports clubs from around the world, have begun using the cards in place of tickets as a convenience to customers. But MLS isn’t the only league that has started using these cards. Teams in the NBA, NHL, NFL, and MLB have also begun issuing cards to their season ticket members.
For Orlando City, the season ticket card is brand new for 2015, the team's first year in Major League Soccer. Over the past four years, the Lions have presented their season ticket holders with the more traditional paper tickets, which are scanned prior to stadium entry. That will change this season.
The purpose of the change? In a word, convenience. These cards, which closely resemble credit cards, fit neatly into the holder’s wallet, eliminating the need to store a ticket book in a safe location. The ticket holder will simply hand the card to staff upon entry for easy scanning and entrance into the stadium.
Along with their season ticket card, Orlando City season ticket holders also received personalized Society XXI scarves. Society XXI is a group formed by the club upon admission into Major League Soccer, consisting of season ticket holders of the club’s inaugural MLS year. The name 'Society XXI' is based on City being named the 21st team in the league. Each scarf includes an original design exclusively for Society XXI members, as well as the member’s name and seat location in the Citrus Bowl.
Each major event for the club and its fans is one step closer to the start of their inaugural MLS season on (barring a work stoppage) March 8. The delivery of season ticket packages is yet another of these club milestones for the club.
So don't be surprised at that credit card-looking thingy in your season ticket package. That's not going to get you into some warehouse store. It's your season ticket. The Lions are saving some trees this year.