👋 Good morning! Ready to learn about tickets? Welcome to Day 1 of our 2-day look at the ticket industry. Let's dive in...
Today's word count: 1,695 words (6 minutes)
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Over the last decade, tickets have transitioned out of the physical realm and, like so many other aspects of our lives, gone digital. Most are now purchased on and delivered to a mobile device, then scanned at the stadium.
By the numbers: The percentage of transactions on mobile vs. desktop on ticket marketplace SeatGeek since 2012, per the company:
The impact: Mobile tickets are far more secure than paper tickets, since fraudsters could easily make copies of the same paper tickets and sell them. They are also more convenient.
"There is no more Guy in Charge of the Tickets, stuffing envelopes in his dining room, because fans now share tickets with one another on their phones rather than rendezvous at the giant bat outside old Yankee Stadium."— Steve Rushin, Sports Illustrated
The players: Ticketmaster, which runs the NFL Ticket Exchange, has long been the market leader in the initial sale of tickets. Meanwhile, Stubhub, SeatGeek, Vivid Seats, Gametime, Tickpick and others operate in the secondary market, where they connect sellers and buyers (some offer primary tickets, too).
The big picture: Now that fans don't have to print their tickets or get them in the mail, buying behavior has changed, leading to more week-of or even day-of purchases. In fact, Gametime built its whole business around this "last-minute fan."
What's next: With so many professional and college sports teams going fully digital, the in-stadium experience could eventually revolve around the digital ticket.
The bottom line: Tickets were once mementos, collected like photographs and saved in scrapbooks. They are now barcodes on our phones — convenient as heck and impossible to lose yet, sadly, often forgotten about the moment they're scanned.
Coming tomorrow: Our coverage of the ticket industry continues with an inside look at Stubhub's recent $4 billion sale to Viagogo, featuring an interview with Viagogo CEO, and Stubhub co-founder, Eric Baker.
After weeks of volatility atop the Top 25, Louisville and Kansas finally provided some consistency, remaining at No. 1 and No. 2.
Coming up: Many schools have a light week because of final exams, but some big games are on the docket, beginning tonight with undefeated Butler visiting last week's biggest riser, Baylor.
Stanford stayed on top of the latest women's top 25, while UConn jumped up two spots to No. 2 after routing rival Notre Dame to stay undefeated.
Coming up: The week's only ranked-on-ranked action isn't until Sunday, but it should be worth the wait, as No. 7 Louisville hosts in-state rival No. 14 Kentucky.
Soccer star Megan Rapinoe has been named Sports Illustrated's 2019 Sportsperson of the Year for her part in the USWNT's World Cup win and for "being a vocal activist for equality." Rapinoe, 34, is just the fourth woman in the award's 66-year history to win unaccompanied.
"Rapinoe challenged perceptions of her, of female athletes, of all women. She led her teammates, three months before their tentpole tournament, to sue the U.S. Soccer Federation for equal pay; to declare in advance that they would not visit the White House when they won the Cup; to score 13 goals in a group-stage match against Thailand, without apology."— Jenny Vrentas, Sports Illustrated
The Russian Olympic Committee headquarters in Moscow. Photo: Sergei Fadeichev/TASS via Getty Images
The World Anti-Doping Agency on Monday banished Russia from international competition for four years, "the latest and most severe punishment yet connected to a yearslong cheating scheme that has tarnished sports, rendered Russia a sports pariah and exacerbated tension between Moscow and the West," writes NYT's Tariq Panja.
What they're saying: Many international athletic officials believe Russia got off too easy. "To allow Russia to escape a complete ban is yet another devastating blow to clean athletes, the integrity of sport and the rule of law," said Travis T. Tygart, CEO of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.
Go deeper: Banning Russia's flag and anthem is perfect for WADA, whose only concern is optics (WashPost)
24 years ago today, the Toronto Raptors beat the Vancouver Grizzlies, 93-81, in the first meeting of the NBA's Canadian expansion teams.
What came next: The Raptors finished 21-61 in Year 1, while the Grizzlies went 15-67. That earned them the No. 2 and No. 3 picks, respectively, in the 1996 draft, where Toronto took Marcus Camby and Vancouver took Shareef Abdur-Rahim (Allen Iverson went No. 1 to Philadelphia).
Go deeper: A diehard Grizzlies fan made a documentary called "Finding Big Country" about her hunt for her reclusive childhood hero, Bryant Reeves.
The second edition of the Half Marathon Des Sables — a three-stage, 74.5 mile race over the sand dunes of Peru's Ica Desert — took place earlier this month and looked insane.
Speaking of crazy races ... At this ultramarathon, there's no finish line.
Photo: Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images
San Francisco's George Kittle has the fourth-most receiving yards through three seasons (2,646 and counting) of any tight end in NFL history.
Answer at the bottom.
Photo: Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
"Belichick & Saban: The Art of Coaching" debuts tonight at 9pm ET on HBO. The 73-minute film explores the long-standing friendship between two of the most famous football minds of their generation.
More to watch:
Kendall "Shoutout to all the former Guys in Charge of the Tickets" Baker
Trivia answer: Mike Ditka (2,774), Rob Gronkowski (2,663) and Jimmy Graham (2,648)