Chicago Bears ask fans to arrive early as new e-ticketing debuts

With the Bears' season opener less than 48 hours away, the team is reminding fans with tickets that it will be a completely new ballgame when they get to Soldier Field.

The Bears have moved to a new electronic ticketing system, which means no more paper tickets.

As the Bears celebrate their 100th season, they are also moving into the digital age.

"There is a learning curve with mobile ticketing. Both for the fans and for the staff," said Bears Vice President Lee Twarling.

Twarling says that starting this season, every single fan will have to scan their tickets on a smartphone to get into Soldier Field. Season ticket holders were notified back in January to prepare for the new system and to practice pulling up their tickets on their phone before heading to the game.

"There's two paths to get to a ticket. One is through our official Chicago Bears app. We want to make sure that's updated though. So have that app updated and you can use that. Or the second path is just through your mobile web browser," Twarling said.

So far, it has worked well in the Bears' two preseason games. But Thursday night's opener against the Packers will draw a much bigger crowd and fans will also be slowed by street closures in Grant Park for the NFL's kickoff celebration.

"We ask folks just give yourself extra time, whether it's leaving from home or work. The parking lots open at 3:20 for those who are parking. And the gates open at 5:20," Twarling said.

To make sure there is enough cell service for all those phones to work, the Bears will have three Wi-Fi tents outside the stadium and are working with cellphone carriers to bring portable towers for the game.