8 minutes

Here’s What the Ticketing Experts at Intix are Talking About

We are able to see greater leaps in technology and better approaches to issues when we share and learn from industry experts. 

That’s why INTIX 2023 was not only a great place to discuss what had occurred in the industry in the past year, but also a fantastic opportunity to gain new business insights about how ticketing companies, operators, and venues are using technology to create more impactful and personalized connections with fans. 

One-third of this year’s conference participants were first-time attendees, proving a new wave of ticketing professionals and bringing fresh perspectives into the industry. This year, there were many exciting conversations about innovative ways to engage fans, how to implement dynamic pricing, if NFTs and Web 3.0 are worth the hype, and much more.

Collage of photos from INTIX 2023 conference showcasing Softjourn's attendance and other notable speakers

At Softjourn, we are constantly learning and challenging ourselves to better understand ticketing and how it has developed and is continuing to evolve. Conferences like INTIX give us the opportunity to have great discussions with current clients and meet new ticketing professionals, which helps us gain more insights into how technology can impact patron relationships before, during, and after events. 

After three intense days of keynotes and meetings, we are ready to spill the tea on the biggest takeaways this year, so you can understand what is new as we head into 2023. Keep reading to find out more about the latest in the industry!

Are One-Stop Shop Apps the Future of Fan Engagement? It Certainly Seems So.

Screenshot of Intix 2023 speakers

One of our team’s favorite presentations at this year’s conference was, “What’s the T on Technology and Fan Engagement”. Panelists shared their deep experience regarding different tools that help fans have everything they for attendance all in one place. Other hot topics in this panel included:

Digital Wallets

E-wallets or digital wallets have become such an important part of every event. All panelists agreed that feedback from fans is priceless as it gives ticketing companies the opportunity to improve their current products and processes. With some digital wallets becoming a one-stop shop application where fans can upload their ticket, connect to PayPal, and access other venue information, it has become much easier for fans to navigate even the biggest events of the season. 

Following these trends, Ticketmaster is working on Footprint ID as a one-stop shop application. They believe that with Footprint ID, patrons will have everything they need at their fingertips for a smooth event experience, including venue information, a digital wallet that would provide access to their event and parking tickets, as well as fast merchandise and food purchasing at the event. This way, fans have everything streamlined on one app and do not need to use several different ones during their visit. 

Plus, all of this information collected in one place gives Ticketmaster the opportunity to use all the customer data collected to identify new ideas for venues to improve their offerings. One obstacle will be retraining consumers to use new technology - promotions will be their best bet to make this onboarding happen.

Sponsor Integration

Another big topic the panelists discussed was how the ROI from every sponsorship is a valuable and key piece to concentrate on, especially for venues. The best way to show sponsors just how much they are gaining from a partnership is by showing the data collected from events through applications. However, at this point, understanding and breaking down the data into easily consumable pieces requires having a large team of analysts, which is something panelists posit venues should work to have in the future.

Facial Recognition

An improved way to ensure a frictionless fan experience at the venue is facial recognition. Most panelists agree that it won’t be used on a grand scale, but that it can be applicable for athletes, performers, and fans in VIP zones. Usually, VIPs want to move quickly and conveniently through the stadium or venue, so the best way to do this is with a facial scanner. Plus, athletes and performers can avoid being swarmed by fans at access points. 

Loyalty Programs

There are new ways to engage fans that are quickly being implemented. Platforms have created reward systems that allow fans to gain bigger or smaller rewards at every event based on number of food and beverage purchases, season games, or other team events attended. For example, where every 10th purchase is rewarded with a discount or a free drink at the next game, people are more inclined to attend and spend.

While loyalty programs have been successful for many years, now apps can use reward rules to give fans more immediate and better rewards in forms of discounts or gifts. Sports event managers find this to be a great way to engage with younger audiences and draw in new fans.

Contactless Tickets

Contactless is a technology that everyone was discussing – even before COVID – and the NBA was one of the first to actually implement contactless at their venues in 2021. This technology comes with a lot of benefits for both fans and event organizers. For fans, entrance and food purchasing become much easier. While for organizers, they can better understand entrance and exit flows, track where fans are, and provide rewards and promotions, as well as cross-selling opportunities. their purchases. 

The Vice President of Fortress US, Britton Stackhouse, mentioned that there are still a lot of redundancies in the venue-entering process. And the jury is still out when it comes to the best technology to use, whether it be through credentials, barcodes, biometrics, or facial recognition. In essence, venues are still trying out new tech to understand what works best for them and for their patrons.

Overall, the challenges in the industry have stayed more or less the same in post-pandemic times, but technology is increasingly helping venues remove unnecessary friction from their processes and providing consumers with a more convenient experience. 

TL;DR: Key takeaways

  • Fans are seeking one-stop shop digital wallets
  • Sponsor integration matters 
  • Rules can help create better loyalty programs
  • Contactless tech is here to stay (including facial recognition!)
  • Convenience is number one

Heading Towards Sustainability - Can Venues Make the Change?

The idea of fully sustainable venues is no longer a thing of the future. With NHL teams and some performers desiring to have zero-waste sports seasons and events, venues are beginning to step up and become greener.

Intix 2023 speakers

Panelist Kristen Fulmer, from Oak View Group, said that “There are really creative ways to operate and improve the sustainability of a venue.” For example, venues can add solar panels, serve locally grown food, and reduce the amount of waste at events.

The use of digital tickets and QR codes is a smart way to reduce the paper used at events. These technologies save venues valuable resources, but it’s far from being enough. The panelists believe that venues have the capacity to lead communities in sustainability practices as well as being a place that helps with the needs of local people. An interesting example shared was how a venue in Florida served as a shelter during tornado season and truly helped the community. 

Kristen Fulmer concluded the panel with her perspective on sustainability. “Sustainability means to be proactive,” she said, “thinking about ways we can reduce the impact of climate change as well as finding more ways to be more proactive and inspire positive change in the community. “

TL;DR: Key takeaways

  • Maximizing sustainability pays off
  • Inspire people to see venues differently
  • Venues can help communities
  • Sustainability means to be proactive

Discovering the Right Technology to Support & Empower Fans

Is a digital experience critical for fan engagement? The speakers behind the presentation, ‘Behind Our Industry’s Velvet Tech Rope’ believe so. Digitalization is moving at breakneck speeds, so it’s not always easy to follow the market. However, the goal is always the same - to create an event experience people will enjoy. 

Nick Lawson, the CEO of Sqwad, believes that the pandemic has pushed everyone in the industry toward taking a deeper look into the demographics of fan bases. He finds that it is crucial to keep in mind what groups will benefit and appreciate digital tools, and which fans may struggle to accept new technologies


For example, baseball has an aging fan base, and this is important to consider when selling tickets, especially when using apps. When building apps for older fans, it is important to understand what kind of customer support and features fans need and listen carefully to their complaints.

Panelist Ashley Connor, the Vice President of the San Francisco Giants, described how it is important to take a step back and make sure that the tools being developed and implemented are the right ones to focus on. “We need to think about striking the right balance,” she said, “Digital tools are developing very fast and sometimes is mentally draining to keep up with everything that has been going on.” 

Panelists shared their insights about the importance of using technology to ensure crowd control in big venues as consumer expectations for frictionless access control are growing every year. Since negative experiences tend to make it into the spotlight, venues, and ticket platforms need to analyze patron feedback and always focus on reliving the pain points of the event, in all its stages. 

Disney is an example shared during this presentation, for their innovation in customer experience. Disney theme parks use wristbands so staff always knows there are places that need to be less crowded or better tended to, and how to create a better and smoother experience for patrons. We will likely see arenas following suit, to ensure that food, merch, and cleaning services are always available where and when people need them

Key takeaways

  • Digital tools are here to stay in the sports industry
  • Choose the right technologies for the fanbase you are targeting
  • Improving fan experience is imperative
  • Customer support is a big part of fan experience

Will Digital Collectibles be Game Changers in Fan Engagement?

During an INTIX Town Hall about using NFTs to Drive Fan Engagement, we heard from a panel of experts about emerging ticketing technologies like NFTs, that will influence customer engagement and the ticketing process overall. 

Intix 2023 NFTs for fan engagement

Offering collectibles in the form of NFT is a rising trend, and panelists posited that ticketing companies should be ready to offer it as a service. One of the panelists shared, “NFTs can unlock incredible ways to connect with fans.”

One example of an engagement-boosting NFT is called NFL Moments, which was described by the Senior Director of the National Football League, Daniel Devece.He has found that NFTs work because fans are interested in owning a great ‘collectible’ moment from a game. 

A similar example shared by Rusty Watkins, the Senior Director of Ticketmaster, is Dynamic Moments NFTs by Ticketmaster. These are more personalized NFTs that share a story of a team’s season. Rusty believes that NFTs like Dynamic Moments will become more popular in the future. 

Beyond sports, the speakers felt that the music and arts industries will greatly benefit from NFTs, especially since there’s a new wave of music performers that hope to build deeper relationships with their fans. NFTs are also a great tool to use to connect collection-based communities, where people can share or trade their digital collections of NFTs. 

The speakers also shared the opinion that NFTs are helping to build effective engagement loops. This means that fans that went to one event and received an NFT collectible will likely be influenced to go to more events to secure new ‘moment’ collectibles - especially if these collectibles have value in the wider fan community.

Gamification of NFTs is somewhat uncharted territory in the sports and events industries. The idea of NFT gamification is that when fans know that new NFTs are coming and that each NFT can unlock a new set of benefits, then their interest will increase. Some sports clubs are already planning to give a certain amount of NFTs and later burn them to increase the interest and value of the existing ones. 

One important thing to keep in mind is that the ticketing industry is slowly moving from calling NFTs by their name (which can be confusing or offputting to fans), and is now beginning to call them digital collectibles. This term is more accessible to fans and will likely have a more positive reputation than NFTs.

Final Word About INTIX 2023

Having weathered the pandemic and the massive changes it created, venues and ticketing companies are now looking for innovative technologies that enable them to move faster in adapting to changing customer needs - in particular, a frictionless and well-thought-out fan experience. 

This year's speakers echoed that it’s more important than ever to gather and use consumer data to further improve the event experience and take fan engagement to the next level. 

If you are struggling with implementing or understanding new ticketing technologies that’ll improve the event experience - Softjourn’s ticketing experts can help.

We weren’t able to attend all of the incredible presentations, so we’d love to hear from you! What did you find to be the most interesting or useful takeaway from INTIX 2023?