Monday, January 30, 2017

Monday Mashups: How Technology Can Save Super Bowl Ticket Sales

Buying tickets to any sort of entertainment event through a third party vendor can be terrifying. Just this week we dealt with something similar. In October, we bough Eric Church tickets through Stubhub. We trust them and have only had positive experiences with their service. However, we got pretty nervous when we still hadn't received our tickets a week out from the concert. They ensured us we'd get them closer to the show. Little did we know they meant the morning of! In an online chat session, a customer service rep told us a lot of venues aren't releasing tickets until the day of events now to limit the resale and purchase of them to increase security. A step in the right direction but definitely an uneasy one for customers.

That being said, with the biggest game in television history on its way, it makes perfect sense as to why the top tech wizards are getting involved in ticket sales. Over the last decade, there have been a number of issues with Super Bowl tickets being falsified and fans being scammed. Which is a huge problem considering the cost of these once in a lifetime seats. The current average listing price for Super Bowl 51 is $5,889. Making it the most expensive average price ever tracked for the Super Bowl on the Monday following Championship Sunday. At that price, the 71,795 seats this year in NRG Stadium have a market value of over $400 million. Regardless of how prices rise or fall over the next week, it’s the biggest market for a single event that exists on the planet. It’s also the most visible event in for the ticket industry, which makes fixing it all the more important.

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Much of the mayhem of Super Bowl markets past have been the result of something called speculative selling, by which brokers list tickets for sale on major marketplaces without actually knowing what seat they are selling. These ‘zone-based listings’ have uncertain names like “Upper Level EndZone, N/A” and “300s Level Corner, TBD.” This year, many of the tickets that get sold in ‘open’ marketplace sites or apps will be zone-based listings. To avoid market blow-up, speculative selling needs to be eliminated entirely. Doing this will create a picture far better than the complete chaos that we saw in 2015 when thousands of fans purchased tickets 10 days ahead of the Super Bowl only to arrive in Arizona to find that their ticket had vanished into the desert air and that the cost to replace their $2,500 ticket was $10,000.

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A real life nightmare for football fans. But the good news for speculators and teams alike is that the best minds at companies like Ticketmaster, SeatGeek and Eventbrite are focused on technology to unlock primary market supply in the same way that TicketNetwork and Stubhub did for brokers 25 years ago around the dawn of Internet. As a measure of progress, according to Ticketmaster, the number of developers accessing the API they launched almost two years ago has increased from 200 developers at launch, to over 2,000 today, of which TicketIQ is one. Seatgeek is months away from launching their first client, Sporting Kansas City, on their new primary ticketing platform, called Open.

For consumers, all this access will mean a category experience that improves significantly. It will cost you though. A functioning ticket market means ultra-high demand events will have ultra-high prices. It is the basis of supply and demand, and the foundation of every commodities market. As an alternative to fraud, lawsuits, and heartbreak, it’s a no-brainer. So as the Super Bowl keeps on keeping on, we hope you are able to devour the details of the most secure tickets and enjoy this once in a lifetime event in all its glory!

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