Portland Timbers fans can now buy tickets via text after the Major League Soccer (MLS) team partnered with SMS service ZipWhip.

The company, which enables existing landline phones to send and receive text messages, will provide text message-based solutions direct to fans. As well as ticketing sales and renewals, fans can also use the ZipWhip service to access customer services and in-game updates.

After a three-month trial period the Timbers service team reduced email activity by 34%, and call volume dropped by 31%.

The Timbers are the latest US sports property to partner with the company, with the MLS’s San Jose Earthquakes and teams from the NBA, NFL and NHL already signed up.

Discussing the use of his software by sports teams, ZipWhip chief executive John Larson said: “Why can’t consumers naturally text a business? Professional sports teams have really taken a hold of this service, because they are looking for any way possible to provide a rich customer experience.”

According to a Gartner Group study, 71% of young adults would like text messaging as a customer service option.