MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — On Saturday, longtime Vikings fan Kirk VJ Neuman used his son’s digital season tickets to get into the preseason game at U.S. Bank Stadium.

“There were no lines,” he said. “Easy, peasy.”

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This is the first season the Minnesota Vikings have required tickets to enter the stadium be scanned via smartphone. The team is one of six in the NFL to move to the new system. On Monday, a team spokesman said the Vikings were pleased with how the new digital ticketing system worked for 57,000 people on Saturday.

“We had no issues and I think that’s a big credit to our fans,” said Jeff Anderson, vice president of corporate communications for the Minnesota Vikings.

The Vikings say the change not only reduces the likelihood of counterfeit tickets, but it also gives the team a way to communicate directly with ticket holders.

“In the past, half our tickets are transferred or sold on the secondary market — we had no ability to reach those fans,” Anderson said. “Now, we have an email address associated with every ticket. We can go directly to every user, tell them about a gate closure or gate backup or road closure.”

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According to Pew Research Center, 77 percent of Americans have a smartphone. That’s up from 35 percent in 2011. When the numbers are broken down by age, the percentages are more stark — 95 percent of Americans between ages 18 and 29 have a smartphone versus 46 percent of Americans over 65.

But what if you don’t have a smartphone? Good question.

On Facebook, users without smartphones gave varying reasons for not having the device. Chad wrote he didn’t need the functions, Nick said smartphones were too pricey and John wrote that he didn’t want to have to keep showing his dad how to make a smartphone call.

Anderson said a couple hundred fans came to U.S. Bank Stadium on Saturday with paper tickets and were allowed into the game. Most of them were Jaguar fans who weren’t familiar with the policy change.

Vikings ticket holders without smartphones are asked to call the Vikings Ticket Office at 612-33VIKES before the game to coordinate how to get inside.

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“We’ll walk through a number of solutions. At the end of the day — bottom line — we want fans in the stadium, so if it comes down to it, we’ll have you arrive early on game day, come to will call and we’ll get you in that,” Anderson said.

Heather Brown