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story.lead_photo.caption Fans will use digital tickets to go to Missouri football games this fall. Photo by Associated Press / News Tribune.

COLUMBIA — The Missouri athletic department announced Monday morning it would be eliminating all physical ticketing for football and men's and women's basketball going forward.

It's a move designed in part to cut down on physical interactions and time spent at ticket gates this fall, as the Southeastern Conference and other Division I conferences mull over their return plans in the face of a resurgent coronavirus pandemic. It's also being done to cut down on fraud and counterfeit tickets, and presumably resale nearby.

Ticketing will still be handled by industry giant Ticketmaster, with digital copies available in the free Mizzou Tigers app. Tickets can be transferred one time, or posted online through Ticketmaster for resale.

Parking passes are not affected and will still be done with physical mirror or dashboard displays.

"There are going to be several challenges as athletics venues across the nation begin to open following the COVID-19 pandemic, and as a department, we will continue to stress the fan experience and safety at all of our events, and digital ticketing will play a key role in both of those areas moving forward," Missouri athletic director Jim Sterk said in the statement.

"The convenience of digital ticketing is something I know our fans have been intrigued by for a long time, and that was confirmed during the focus groups we held as part of the decision-making process."

In a release, MU Athletics said it consulted with fans via Zoom before making the decision, which will require a smartphone. The athletic department will no longer mail physical copies of tickets, either season or single-game, and fans will not have the option to download and print off copies of their tickets at home.

Because the number of fans at games impacts cell service and Wi-Fi speeds, fans are encouraged to download their digital tickets at home before making the trip to Faurot Field.

Fans who do not have a smartphone are asked to make arrangements beforehand with the ticket office. The main box office at Mizzou Arena and Gate 1 at Faurot Field will be available to assist fans who have dead cell phone batteries.

In the release, Missouri said it will provide further instructions and produce an instructional video for fans before the scheduled season opener Sept. 5 against Central Arkansas.

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