COVID-19 isn’t going anywhere, and the world is figuring out how to adjust to what will be our new normal. The beginning of this week brought with it news from Pfizer that they had a vaccine in the works and that the vaccine is 90% effective. This is bringing some hope to many, especially as parts of the country (and the world) are going back into second or third lockdowns as the numbers in the U/S/ are the highest they have ever been.
The vaccine has not been distributed and plans for this are still unknown, but producers of large-scale events are already figuring out how this will play into the future of their industry. Ticketmaster is working on a plan for fan-safety in the post-pandemic world that we are all hoping happens sooner rather than later.
The plan is still being developed, but consists of three parts:
- The use of the Ticketmaster digital app
- Third-party health information companies
- Vaccine distribution providers
While this plan has not been approved or finalized, here is how the rough draft could possibly work:
The Ticketmaster Digital App
Many of us have experience purchasing tickets through Ticketmaster. In this plan, after purchasing a ticket, health screening would be sent. Similar to what doctor’s offices have right now, the screening would ask fans to verify that they have already been vaccinated or that they test negative for coronavirus approximately 24 to 72 hours prior to the concert. The vaccination is estimated to provide a year of protection. If the ticket holder is not vaccinated, the window in which they needed to test negative depends on the state and regional health authorities, falling within the 24-72 hour timeframe before the event. Same-day testing results from clinics would be commonly used for those 24-hour windows.
Third-party health information companies and vaccine distribution providers
Once the testing step was completed, ticketholders would have to deliver their results to third-party health information companies, such as IBM or CLEAR. the third=party health company would need either negative test results or proof of vaccination. If the tests were negative, or the fan was vaccinated, the health pass company would verify the attendee’s COVID-19 status to Ticketmaster. At that point, Ticketmaster would issue the fan the credentials needed to access the event. If the fan tested positive, did not take a test to verify their status, and was not vaccinated, they would not be given access to the event.
There is a lot that needs to be worked out with this. If the plan went through, Ticketmaster would ensure that they would not keep any health records and be HIPPA compliant. The information would be encrypted and secure, which is why the health information companies would be involved. In addition, it would only be used for that specific event.
Ticketmaster’s president spoke to Billboard about how the need for these digital screenings was going to rise rapidly.
We’re already seeing many third-party health care providers prepare to handle the vetting — whether that is getting a vaccine, taking a test, or other methods of review and approval – which could then be linked via a digital ticket so everyone entering the event is verified. Ticketmaster’s goal is to provide enough flexibility and options that venues and fans have multiple paths to return to events, and is working to create integrations to our API and leading digital ticketing technology as we will look to tap into the top solutions based on what’s green-lit by officials and desired by clients.
Protocols that are in place right now, such as sanitizing, mask compliance, and social distancing, are going to be set by the regional health ordinances and the event producers. Even though the experience of attending live events will look completely different, a framework to get the live sports and event industry back to work is important and will need a combination of innovation and consistent and effective implementation.
Hopefully, events will be back soon, and the eternity that has been 2020 and this pandemic will wrap up. Having tentative plans in place to keep us safe is great for the industry and the hopeful fans who can’t wait to go to shows, festivals, sporting events, and more once we can.