Apple's Passbook scores home run with Major League Baseball

In a test among four MLB teams at the end of season, 12 percent of electronic ticket buyers opted to use Passbook.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read
Passbook up at bat at the ballpark.
Passbook up at bat at the ballpark. James Martin/CNET

Passbook has already found one big fan in Major League Baseball.

Still in its initial innings, Apple's new electronic ticketing system scored well in a recent test conducted by MLB. In the final two weeks of the regular season, four teams tried out Passbook. Among 1,500 e-ticket buyers, 12 percent chose to receive their tickets via Apple's service, reports The Wall Street Journal's MarketWatch.

"That adoption rate really floored us -- there is no question our fans want digital tickets," Bob Bowman, CEO of MLB Advance Media, told MarketWatch. "Fans can use the tickets, forward them to a friend, resell them, or even donate them to charity -- and they never get lost or left at home."

Electronic ticket delivery has already been a hit among baseball fans.

Traditional paper tickets were used for just one-third of all single-game seats sold in the 2012 season, down from 55 percent last year, MarketWatch noted. That number is expected to fall to 10 percent next season as Passbook and similar services prompt more people to receive tickets via e-mail or text message.

CNET's own Josh Lowensohn recently gave Passbook a workout at the ballpark, using the service to generate tickets for a San Francisco Giants game. The transaction required one piece of paperwork in the form of a printed receipt. But Passbook did offer distinct advantages over paper tickets, including the ability to alert you to changes and offer access based on your location.

As Passbook gains more traction and sophistication, the process should get even smoother.

Watch this: Set up Passbook in iOS 6