Thanks to Flash Seats and the Minnesota Timberwolves, I can no longer give away my Wolves tickets to the neighborhood kid who shoveled snow off our sidewalk or to my 60-year-old barber as a Christmas gift. The team’s new ticket resale policy under Flash Seats is making it more frustrating than ever to be a season-ticket holder.

Flash Seats is a paperless ticket system that just became the Timberwolves’ official resale marketplace. What’s frustrating is that Flash Seats requires a buyer’s credit card as proof of entry instead of paper or digital codes. Thus, electronic tickets are now transferable only through the Flash Seats system itself. This prevents fans like me from reselling my tickets on other websites, such as StubHub, and also puts an end to easily handing off unused tickets to neighbors, friends or family members.

I bought these tickets. The Timberwolves shouldn’t care what I do with them after they’ve collected my money. I have been a season-ticket holder for five years, and in each of the previous years I have used my tickets as my contribution in my office gift swap and in my family’s “Christmas dice game.” I love seeing people’s eyes light up when they open the envelope and see two hard paper, high-gloss Timberwolves tickets.

What am I supposed to do now? Print off complicated instructions for Flash Seats and present that to them?

I am not a season-ticket holder to make money; I enjoy NBA basketball and the Wolves. If I can’t go to a game, I’m happy to give my tickets to someone who will enjoy the experience. Flash Seats restricts my right to give my tickets away as gifts when I can’t go. That’s wrong.

So if I want to give my tickets to that neighbor kid who shoveled, I can’t just hand him the tickets anymore. Under this Flash Seats system, I’m forced to have an awkward conversation with his parents about how they need to download an app, register with this ticket service and then use their credit card to get into the game. Are you kidding me?

My tickets used to give me opportunities to share the game I love with the people in my life. That’s what I paid for. Now I can only share with tech-savvy people who have credit cards and smartphones. I guess my 12-year-old neighbor and 60-year-old barber can watch the game with me at home.


Ryan Hamilton lives in Minneapolis.