By Alfred Branch, Jr.
A new ticket sharing website is bringing together season ticket holders to make it easier for fans to exchange their unused tickets.
Bethesda, MD-based Draftix.com claims to be the only season ticket sharing site on the web that uses the traditional draft system to distribute tickets. Groups of season ticket holders, their friends or other fans register with the site for free and conduct drafts to determine who will get tickets to specific games. Groups can be private, invitation only, or public and the group creator determines the number of members it will allow.
“We certainly see a lot of possibilities for it,” said co-founder and CEO Mike Tobin. The former technology executive founded the company with Vice President of Operations Brian Katz and Vice President of Engineering Marc Simoncelli. “Everyone shares season tickets, especially for baseball, basketball and hockey because of the number of games. Our site helps to make that process easier to administer, and we believe there is good demand for it.”
Season ticket holders can sell, trade or give tickets to members of a group. Transactions where no money is exchanged are free, and those involving money are assessed a 15 percent service fee that the buyer pays. The ticket holder can set his or her own price when selling a ticket.
Tobin said the group and draft concept resembles similar groups on sites such as Craigslist.com. For example, a group of 10 friends who are fans of the Washington Nationals baseball team decide to go in on season tickets for four seats. They form a private group on Draftix.com, which means the group is closed from receiving new members. One of the members buys the season tickets, and then the group holds a draft to determine who will receive tickets to specific games. The site automates the process, allowing members to rank which games they want in order of preference.
In the past, such groups of friends would have to physically get together to hold the draft or exchange the tickets, Tobin said, but Draftix.com makes it easier because the entire draft and exchange are handled online. Under the company’s business model Draftix.com will generate revenues from the fees it charges for money transactions and through advertising on the site. It will also charge a service fee to use its upcoming ticket trading application.
Tobin said he does not believe his company is running afoul of efforts being conducted by some sports teams that are seeking to control the secondary market for their team’s tickets. For one, private groups of friends who exchange tickets are completely legal. “Most of those exchange situations involving teams are for one-off solutions, where people are looking to unload tickets to a single game. Our members want to exchange their tickets in bulk,” he said.
Draftix.com has approached some teams about the two becoming affiliated with each other, but Tobin said that while there appeared to be some interest, none of the discussions have become serious.
Currently, the site boasts several hundred registered members, and about 50 groups all of which are private, Tobin said, and all are for baseball teams such as the Nationals, the New York Yankees, the Chicago Cubs and the St. Louis Cardinals, among others. He added that there are about 40 people who are looking to join groups when if and when they become public.
The company monitors all the groups, particularly when money is exchanged, and offers protection guarantees for buyers and sellers.