The future is here, and there will be fewer ticket stubs to keep as mementos.

The San Antonio Spurs will usher their season ticket holders into the future of sports ticketing this season with the introduction of smart cards with all holder games banked on the card, replacing ticket books that included individual tickets for every game.

The move is certainly one that makes the franchise more green, but a nod is in order for the idea of reducing clutter and making entrance to games a more seamless process.

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The Spurs made it simple for their season ticket holders to decide, allowing them to choose whether they'd prefer their 33 games to be stored on the smart card or to come in the traditional ticket book. If chosen, the card will be scanned at the gate at the AT&T Center prior to each tipoff and will record what games the holder has and hasn't been to.

Something is obviously lost in the choice to stop receiving ticket booklets. On a more sentimental level, the anticipation and excitement of waiting for and then receiving the booklet goes out the window a bit for holders. Nostalgia and sentimentality are going the way of wasted paper in the transaction, which to us seems like a fair trade.

The other obstacle is selling tickets for games the holder cannot attend. If it's someone the seller knows, then lending the card for a night isn't a big deal. But as Larry Brown Sports points out, the lack of tickets complicates selling them off to strangers for a night. A loss for the holder, but a win for the franchise, which wrestles some control over their ticket distribution in the process.

The move is largely a positive for the franchise, which also saves in the ballpark of $50,000 with fewer printed tickets, and only presents one small problem for the holder. Seems like a win-win to us, and a sign of things to come from other franchises in the future.

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Cristiano Ronaldo's mission to reclaim his position as the world's best soccer player is being given a boost by an unusual cleat design that aims to fool his opponents.

The Real Madrid star's form this season has been boosted by special camouflage technology created by his sponsor Nike, which takes away one method opposing defenders use to stop him.

Ronaldo's new Nike CR Mercurial Vapor Superfly III creates the illusion that Ronaldo is about to turn in one direction, when actually his feet are about to move a different way.

"The movement of feet is something a lot of players are looking to see," explained Nike designer Andrew Caine in an interview with "If you are a defender looking at Cristiano, you are going to visually see which way his body is going to move to combat him. So the idea of having a play on the visual makes it a little bit more difficult to understand and read the body's moves to see where he will go. Visual deception is the play on this one.

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"We started off with how would he look on the wing and how would he look from different perspectives on the field. We did some stuff during the World Cup using a bright orange color to help players see their teammates' feet more easily. This goes in the opposite direction. With this boot you see slightly different feet depending on what side of him you are looking at."

The cleats look remarkably different from each side of Ronaldo. From the right, they have a clean look with pinstripes. From the left, though, there are thick stripes with a red accent line. Furthermore, the asymmetrical design makes a defender's judgment that much harder, as the visual effect of Ronaldo turning his foot in one direction may not come across exactly the same as reality.

Ronaldo was heavily involved in the process and Caine flew to Madrid on three separate occasions with different prototypes for his examination. Despite the player’s reputation as a fashion icon, his primary concern was not about pure looks, but about how the shoe could positively impact his game.

The results had been impressive until last Saturday, when Ronaldo suffered his worst game of the season and Real Madrid's 15-game win streak was brought to a crashing halt by Barcelona's brilliant 3-1 victory.

That performance from Barca has once again put Lionel Messi at the front of the discussion for the FIFA Ballon D'Or, the world player of the year award, with Ronaldo most likely destined to finish in second place again.

Yet Ronaldo insisted his main focus for the season is helping Madrid end Barca’s recent of recent success, rather than individual accolades.

"Achieving personal things is nowhere near as satisfying as when you achieve things as a team," Ronaldo said. "Winning La Liga or the premier club competition in Europe will be far more special. Last season may have been my best ever and that made me happy. But I'd gladly score 10 goals less if it saw us win the league or other major competitions.

"If you can promise me that deal right now, I will sign on the dotted line. Oherwise I must keep scoring as many as possible, and hoping those goals will help us win more trophies."

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Kobe Bryant has been accused of hogging the ball, but his team is leading the league in sharing.

The Los Angeles Lakers quietly became the first American sports franchise to accumulate 11 million Facebook fans. Bryant's team isn't just tops among NBA teams; Hollywood's favorite basketball squad leads all North American sports franchises when it comes to the social network.

The Lakers actually rank fourth worldwide, trailing European soccer powers Manchester United, Real Madrid and the king of Facebook, FC Barcelona, which has 23,128,028 fans.

It took the Lakers just three years to leave all the other sports franchises in the cyber dust. The Boston Celtics, owners of 17 championships, have "only" 5,636,135 fans, according to Sports Fan Graph. LeBron James' Miami Heat and Derrick Rose's Chicago Bulls are next on the list.

Owner Michael Jordan can't be pleased to know his Charlotte Bobcats have the fewest Facebook fans: fewer than 85,000.

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Over in the NFL, the Dallas Cowboys are tops on Facebook with a little more than four million fans. The Pittsburgh Steelers are next, followed by the New England Patriots and then the Green Bay Packers and their virtual cheeseheads.

Jacksonville's Jaguars, who lost to the San Diego Chargers on Monday Night, have the NFL's fewest Facebook fans with fewer than 230,000.

Lakers fans have plenty to look forward to this season.

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