With several COVID-19 vaccines reportedly just around the corner, Ticketmaster will be verifying concert fans' vaccination status, or whether they've tested negative for the coronavirus within a 24 to 72-hour window, according to Billboard.
The plan, still in development phase, will employ three prongs; the Ticketmaster digital app, third-party health status providers such as CLEAR Health Pass or IBM's Digital Health Pass, and testing / vaccine distribution providers such as CVS Minute Clinic and Labcorp.
Here's how it would work, if approved: After purchasing a ticket for a concert, fans would need to verify that they have already been vaccinated (which would provide approximately one year of COVID-19 protection [ZH: really?]) or test negative for coronavirus approximately 24 to 72 hours prior to the concert. The length of coverage a test would provide would be governed by regional health authorities -- if attendees of a Friday night concert had to be tested 48 hours in advance, most could start the testing process the day before the event. If it was a 24-hour window, most people would likely be tested the same day of the event at a lab or a health clinic.
Once the test was complete, the fan would instruct the lab to deliver the results to their health pass company, like CLEAR or IBM. If the tests were negative, or the fan was vaccinated, the health pass company would verify the attendee's COVID-19 status to Ticketmaster, which would then issue the fan the credentials needed to access the event. If a fan tested positive or didn't take a test to verify their status, they would not be granted access to the event. -Billboard
According to the report, Ticketmaster will not store or have access to fans' medical records, and will only receive 'green light or red light' on whether a fan is cleared to attend an event.
At present, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to approve third-party health information providers for real-time verification, however Ticketmaster president Mark Yovich is confident that demand for such screening services will be in heavy demand for multiple applications such as air travel, employment verification and theme park entry.
"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," Yovich told Billboard. "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."
For Ticketmaster, two new technologies at the companies will help its clients scale the program. The first is digital ticketing that's linked to a fan’s identity, eliminates paper tickets and can be restricted from being transferred or resold. Ticketmaster also plans to deploy its new SmartEvent system, which helps event organizers and fans manage social distancing, delayed entry and provide possible opportunities for contact tracing. Many of the safety parameters will be set by regional health officials and event organizers. Event organizers also have the ability to set their own prevention protocols, like sanitation, mask compliance and social distancing. -Billboard
According to the report, implementing this COVID-19 verification plan will be key to the survival of the live entertainment industry during the pandemic.
"In order for live events to return, technology and science are going to play huge roles in establishing integrated protocols so that fans, artists, and employees feel safe returning to venues," says Marianne Herman, co-founder and principal reBUILD20, which focuses on helping entertainment and live events companies develop COVID-19 strategies (per Billboard).
"Integrating ticketing platforms with the guests verified testing results is one key way to reimagine how we’re going to get fans back to live events. The experience of attending live events will look completely different, but innovation married with consistent implementation will provide a framework to get the live sports and event industry back to work."