Don’t forget your phone: Capital One Arena tickets will soon be fully digital

Starting in January, paper tickets will mostly be a thing of the past at Capital One Arena as the venue switches to a fully digital system.

The switch will take effect immediately after Jan. 1, 2020 for all concerts and shows.

It will be a more gradual change for Capitals and Wizards season tickets, as those go fully digital starting in the 2020 playoffs.

The announced was made this week by Monumental Sports & Entertainment, the ownership company of the Wizards, Capitals and Mystics.

“We have had a very strong mobile presence for the past four years,” said Jim Van Stone, Monumental’s president of business operations. “We are focused on making our entire ticketing process as streamlined as possible.”

According to Monumental, the digital Ticketmaster system called “Presence” will make the experience more convenient, enhance security and protect against fraud.

People will be able to access their tickets by taking out a smart device, such as an iPhone, and using the Ticketmaster app or

“Entry information, in-venue updates, upgrade offers, and any event changes can be communicated directly to the fan,” Ticketmaster said.

The digital system puts a “rotating bar code” on the tickets that repeatedly changes, so the tickets will not work if you print them out or take screen shots of them.

Monumental said it would make sure that everyone who goes to the arena for games or concerts is made aware of the changes.

People who purchase tickets directly from the box office will still receive paper tickets, and Monumental said accommodations will be made for those who do not own a smartphone.

“Season ticket members and concert goers will have access to an assortment of tutorial sessions and interactive videos throughout the spring and summer as well as additional educational videos prior to the start of the 2020-21 season to serve as a refresher on how to access mobile tickets,” the company said in a statement.

A growing number of major organizations, including NFL teams, made the switch to the Presence system in recent years.

According to Ticketmaster, over 700 venues implemented Presence and more than 130 million fans have entered venues using the technology.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct the number of venues using Presence and the number of fans that have entered using that technology. 

Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

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