Battle of the Ticket Geeks

Battle of the Ticket Geeks

While doing ticket resale research in 2006, I met with some friends at Tommy Doyle’s in Harvard Square to discuss the possibility of starting a website that aggregated ticket price data to find the best resale values. I knew it would be a cool idea, but the revenue model was fuzzy so I let it go by the wayside. Lucky for ticket buyers, others armed with similar ideas were willing to see the vision to fruition. There are two I want to mention.

As the LA Times reported, SeatGeek was selected to appear at the TechCrunch 50 in San Francisco earlier this week. In the Times article, Co-founder Jack Groetzinger is quoted as saying, “We have an algorithm that can forecast ticket prices.” Indeed, the casual consumer is often baffled by secondary market ticket prices making forecasting is interesting proposition. The challenge is that most of the academic research I have performed or read indicates that resold ticket prices usually go down following the on-sale date. Though this is mostly true for concert tickets, I have seen these price patterns occur with sporting event tickets, too. However, sporting events can be subject to price fluctuations driven by unique influences such as weather and rankings,  so that is likely where there is a value in forecasting. As cool as the forecasting piece could be down the road, I don’t agree that SeatGeek is (right now) as impressive as its competitor, FanSnap.

FanSnap walks around the forecasting question and gets to the point. If one is on the site, they are on the market for a resold ticket; what are the options? Unlike SeatGeek, which only lists section and ticket price data before linking to the resellers site, FanSnap has a really well done user interface that allows one to easily locate tickets on a high-resolution seat map with pop-ups that indicate price and number of available tickets. FanSnap also seems to have a pretty large pool of ticket resale partners providing data to them which provides prospective buyers with more price variety. They key to getting the best deal on a resold ticket is knowing all the price options, not just a portion.

While SeatGeek has potential, it has a ways to go. Regardless, these two ticket resale plays are proof that the ticket search / aggregation battle is on – good news for the price conscious consumer.