JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Despite some ticket issues and the heat, Jaguars fans welcomed the sight of the team taking the field at the Bank Thursday evening for the first time in nearly eight months.
The debut of the Jacksonville Jaguars' new secure digital ticketing program at the preseason home opener against the Philadelphia Eagles had its fair share of problems, according to ticket takers and fans, some of whom said they were delayed entry into the game as a result.
Tickets to 2019 Jaguars games, including the preseason, are completely mobile via the Official Jacksonville Jaguars app. Each digital ticket has a moving barcode, which updates and changes every 15 seconds. It’s designed to reduce the risk of fraud and counterfeit tickets. But News4Jax was told that if there's not good cellphone signal or internet connection, that moving barcode sits still and the scanners can't read the ticket.
Jaguars fan Ed Kothera said he was stopped at the front gate because ticket takers couldn't read the barcode on his phone.
"I specifically told the Jags rep ... you have a problem because when you save that to the app to the phone, it doesn’t have a barcode," Kothera said. "The only way you can do that is to be connected, actually connected, to the internet. I got to get on the internet at the same time with wireless and AT&T."
Kothera eventually got into the game and other fans took to Twitter.
Steffunny tweeted: "@Jaguars the ticket scanners aren’t working. You gotta fix this before game 1. The guy let us in anyways but I doubt he would do that for the regular game."
News4Jax learned Ticketmaster sent an update to all the stadium's scanners to solve some of the technical problems fans were experiencing.
Jaguars fan Pat Cornelius said he worries what will happen during a regular-season game where the crowds are much bigger and more people are on their phones.
"I definitely have problems getting service when you’re checking into a playoff game or something like that, but I would say that’s the only problem," Cornelius said.
Ticket takers also told News4Jax that some phones work better than others with the new digital tickets. News4Jax was told Thursday night that fans with Apple iPhones didn’t have any problems, while fans with Android phones experienced the most delays.
Another thing that was noticeable as attendees worked their way inside TIAA Bank Field was the increased security that's become customary at NFL games. The NFL's clear bag policy was also enforced.
For fans inside the stadium, it was an all-out party celebrating the return of pro football in Jacksonville.
"It’s pretty exciting because (Nick) Foles used to be with the Eagles, so hopefully he can build on the success coming into Jacksonville," Jaguars fan Danny Hunt said.
Despite his old team coming to town, new starting quarterback Nick Foles didn’t see the field again as coach Doug Marrone worked to protect his starters from injuries, which have been a problem in the preseason and early season the last few years for the Jaguars.
Jaguars fan Manny Fernandez said it was the right call.
"I really do -- to keep people healthy preseason," Fernandez said. "They have too many games to judge the players’ conditions."
The one thing that was a fight, beyond Eagles defensive linemen for Jaguars nation, was the summer heat. It was a hot and muggy night and police were warning fans to hydrate well before they arrived at the stadium.
"It’s hot. Best I can say, it’s hot. But the rain hit it, cools us off," Jaguars fan Kenny Smith said. "Feels great right about now."
For fans already planning their next visit to The Bank, the Jaguars have developed a detailed secure digital ticket guide to aid fans in accessing, transferring or selling their tickets for the upcoming season. Fans can access this tutorial and view answers to a list of frequently asked questions at www.jaguars.com/mobiletickets.