With the release of the 2011 MLS season schedule the Philadelphia Union have released the news that the team will utilize "season ticket cards" instead of tickets for season ticket holders.
[UPDATE]: The following was sent to season ticket holders about the new cards and program:
One of the major benefits of this technology is that it enables us to unveil a new loyalty rewards program that will provide benefits and opportunities to season ticket holders. The reward system will be based on the number of points each individual seat on your account accrues over the course of the year. For example, if you have four seats on your account and three of the seats reach a specific benefit level, three individuals will receive the benefit assigned to that level. This method ensures fairness for all accounts, regardless of the number of seats on the account.
We're looking to unveil a series of auctions exclusive to card carrying season ticket holders. During these auctions you'll be able to use loyalty points on your account to bid on special items and experiences. By bidding on an item/experience you are essentially cashing in loyalty points for items such as game worn jerseys, access to exclusive events, and unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.
More details on the loyalty point system, rewards, benefits, and auctions will be unveiled when you receive your season ticket card in March. As another new benefit, season ticket cards will grant you access to the Stadium Club following matches on a first-come, first-served basis.
The Union first dropped hints to returning season ticket holders about the switch, before officially putting word out through the teams Twitter account (@PhilaUnion).
We'll be debuting season ticket cards this season, along with a loyalty points reward system. STH, check your email for details. #DOOP
It's an interesting concept that European teams apparently already use, according to the Union's sales staff:
We will be switching to the credit card type ticketing method where you'll collect loyalty and reward points based on things like: number of games attended, early arrival to the match, wins, shutouts, goals scored. There are a bunch of European teams that currently us this method.
The reward types are subject to change but those are the current ones being proposed. Another interesting thing to note is that the Union have done away with season ticket holders having to pay for printing at home or transferring tickets.
Account holder can transfer tickets to anyone you want for free, and then they can print them for free.
Last year transferring and printing at home cost $3 each. This year, no charge.
In addition, the team is looking into making the card usable for concessions and apparel sales at games.