Senior vice president of client support, Ticketmaster North America. (Courtesy Steve Weydig)
Face of SafeTix
Steve Weydig, a 21-year veteran of Ticketmaster, was the point man for the rollout of SafeTix in NFL stadiums this year, an undertaking that involved more than 300 employees on 35 internal teams. More than 3.5 million fans have used SafeTix to enter NFL games this year, thanks to Weydig, who was instrumental in developing the product to the specifications of Ticketmaster’s clients.
“I was the conduit for taking that feedback and discussion points and bringing it to our product development team,” said the Buffalo-based Weydig, who was at the forefront of the product’s mapping, helping design it in order to take it to market. “We wanted to create efficient entry practices for both the fan, the gate staff and the venue operators.”
SafeTix was developed as a way to reduce fraud, offering a more secure and reliable experience for fans by creating one-to-one personalization in real time through texts or email. The system also helps increase names in the database and clients’ ability to market to those fans both during and after the event. NFL teams reported adding more than 884,000 new names to file to their database, an increase of 22% from 2018. The use of mobile tickets through the league increased 31%, with some teams reporting adoption rates as high as 98%.
“Our biggest challenge was from an education aspect, both from a fan and venue perspective,” said Weydig, which included a massive hardware rollout. SafeTix entrance includes both a scanned barcode that rotates every 15 seconds to prevent copying and a near-field communication tap-and-go system, a token embedded in each mobile phone that allows a seamless integration with both Apple Wallet and Google Play.
Weydig helped implement SafeTix at the venue level by using video training that covered possible event scenarios and ensuring network capabilities for proper Wi-Fi and cellular coverage on game day.
“The ability to transfer a ticket from one person to another in real time is another innovation,” said Weydig, who also points to the ability to interact with team and venue apps.
Added Ticketmaster Director of Communications Brett Morrow, “Through Steve’s work, Ticketmaster transformed the way it provided onsite support for clients and their events, creating efficiencies for support provided across all categories to make the fan experience frictionless.”
The technology is now being adopted by the NBA, NHL and Major League Soccer and is being used for Taylor Swift’s 2020 Lover Fest tour as well as tours by Madonna and Mumford & Sons.
Weydig, a Mahopac, N.Y., native, is adept at identifying a problem and fixing it, which serves him well in a business that often moves at the speed of light.
“We’re looking to innovate as much as possible by taking into consideration the fan and client by enabling them to feel safe with an entrance as seamless as possible.”