CHICAGO (CBS) — Tens of thousands of fans flooded into Soldier Field, but there was something different as the Chicago Bears opened the NFL season on Thursday–paperless tickets.
The only way for fans to get into the game was with an e-ticket stored on a mobile phone.
There were glitches during the preseason, with many fans unable to get cell service and long lines. CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov went the check out how the system worked for the regular season opener.
Fan Lawrence Quinley is from Sacramento, Calif, and he was the first fan in line Thursday afternoon. He wasn’t taking any chances.
“It’s just a big game,” he said of the matchup with the Green Bay Packers to kick off the NFL’s 100th season. “I was just so anxious. I was at my hotel earlier and I couldn’t sit down.”
There is a fair amount of fan anxiety about the new e-ticket system required to enter the stadiium. Paper tickets are a thing of the past.
Fans say there were glitches in the preseason.
“The first game, yes,” said Ken Overmyer. “I went in through the north end zone. It was about a 20 minute wait. They weren’t reading my tickets.” He said another fan’s phone died while he was in line.
About an hour before kickoff, there were no major reported problems with slow lines or glitches.
The Bears told CBS 2 their phones had been ringing off the hooks with questions during the preseason. But team officials are confident they can handle any issues with larger crowds for the regular season.
The team urged fans to arrive early and practice pulling up the tickets on their phones. The Bears have added staff to help answer questions.
Fan Vinnie Riveria said he’s not worried. “It works just as fast as a paper ticket. As long as you have it ready to go. It scans it pretty fast.”
The team also planned to set up three WiFi hotspot tents to help with last-minute downloading issues.