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Wizards tickets will default to paper this season

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After a few seasons of experimenting with paperless-only ticket options, the Wizards are going back to paper (by default).

Washington Wizards Media Day Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

The Wizards’ preseason is now less than a week away. Season ticket holders will now receive their packages this week, if they haven’t already. Monumental Sports announced earlier this summer that the biggest change was the elimination of a print-at-home option. We explained this a bit in our Ticket Exchange thread.

But now, there is more information on what traditional paper tickets do. We break down the changes here.

What comes with the season tickets?

Season tickets will include the following:

  • A book of traditional paper tickets - You know, the regular tickets where people rip a stub to ensure your entry into each Wizards home game.
  • A Monumental Sports membership card - The card holds your tickets for the Wizards, but also the Mystics (WNBA), the Capitals (NHL), and the Valor (Arena Football League) who start play next season. I’ll talk a little more about this in a bit later. The card also gives you 20 percent off all merchandise at the Verizon Center store.
  • Lanyards and ticket pouches - You get a lanyard for each ticket you have. It displays your tenure with the team

Big Change: Traditional Paper Tickets are the default this season

There were some complaints about the elimination of PDF tickets earlier this summer. Since Monumental Sports was issuing a membership card and paper tickets this season, I was wondering what the default form would be. Since traditional paper tickets are being issued, that will be the default form this season.

In layman’s terms, if you don’t fiddle with the Monumental Sports ticket manager, your tickets are on paper.

With paper tickets as the “default” form, what does this mean for the secondary market?

This is overall good news for the secondary market — especially for sources outside of TicketsNow, Monumental’s official marketplace. These sources include StubHub, SeatGeek, and Craigslist.

If Monumental Sports was offering paper tickets, but defaulted them to the membership card, that would cause a lot of headache and worry to buyers on these sources. No one wants to buy a paper ticket — only to find out that they are void once they enter the game.

The good news is that with any site besides Craigslist — meaning StubHub, SeatGeek, etc. -- they offer a guarantee that the tickets will be valid. Sellers who sell phony tickets get sanctioned and ultimately banned when this happens. The bad news is that if you’re trying to sell tickets within a week of a game, TicketsNow is your only option because it takes time to ship the tickets. TicketsNow allows you to transfer them digitally.

As for Craigslist, from personal experience, I’ve only found people looking for pennies on the dollar, or those who aren’t serious about buying. It may be “free” for a seller to list his or her tickets, but there’s a lot of time invested — and possibly wasted — for both sides to perform the transaction.

People who prefer paperless tickets will have more hurdles

I’ve had season tickets for nearly a decade. I’ve preferred the paperless option whenever possible. When the cards were introduced in the 2013-14 season, I used them exclusively and was happy that they were stored on that card by default. If I lost the card (which I didn’t), I could just put it on a credit card or load the card onto my iPhone.

Now, I will have to remember to load cards manually every time. I don’t go to every game so this won’t be much of an issue for me. But for those of you who prefer paperless tickets AND go to most games, this will be inconvenient for you.

Overall take on the changes

I’m not exactly thrilled that paperless tickets are now only transferrable via TicketMaster’s platforms. And to be honest, I’m not happy that my tickets are defaulted to traditional paper. It seems reactionary because we are living in a less paper-intensive society than the past.

That said, when it comes to tickets, maybe I’m in the minority when it comes to my paperless preferences. There are people today who like the memento of a ticket stub from an event. I’ll admit I don’t have the numbers behind it, but maybe most people preferred paper tickets all along these past few years.

Do you like the fact that Monumental Sports is going back to paper after experimenting with paperless only options for a couple seasons? Let us know in the comments below.