Service lets you print own tickets

January 31, 2000|By TAMI LUHBY | TAMI LUHBY,NEWSDAY

No more waiting in long lines to pick up tickets at theaters or sports arenas. Beginning in April, Ticketmaster-Online CitySearch Inc. will allow customers to print tickets ordered online.

The tickets, bought via www- .ticketmaster.com, can be printed on any laser, inkjet or high-end dot matrix printer at home or work. No special software will be required.

"This is an exciting way to make ticket buying more convenient," said Tom Stockham, executive vice president of ticketmaster.com.

Printed on a standard sheet of paper, the tickets come with a bar code that specifies event information and seat location. Though the tickets could be photocopied, once a ticket is scanned at the event, no one else holding a ticket with the same bar code will be admitted.

Scalping, however, remains a problem for ticket agencies, theaters and venues. Ticketmaster said it has developed security measures to prevent hackers from duplicating the bar codes. And, Stockham said, no one would buy a sheet of paper from a scalper.

While the new system may make ticket buying easier, sports arenas and theaters will have to reorganize their ticket collection to accept the home-printed stubs. They will need scanners, to be provided by Ticketmaster at little or no cost, to read the tickets.

Several dozen of the company's 3,700 venues are testing the scanners. So far, the system has worked smoothly and scanners often read the tickets faster than a guard could tear them, Stockham said.

The system will be available at most sites by year's end, he said.

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