More than a year after the ticket futures Web site yoonew.com shut its doors, an unknown but small number of former customers are still awaiting payment for unfulfilled orders, TicketNews has learned.
The once-promising ticket futures company, which at its peak employed almost 20 people, raised millions of dollars through investors, but it ran into stiff financial problems due to the weak economy, limited access to additional funds and mounting legal bills from a patent infringement lawsuit brought on by rival FirstDIBZ.
One of yoonew’s customers, Arizona resident Naveed Siddiqui, a sports marketing executive who had success using yoonew in the past, is waiting on repayment of $5,000 he spent on four tickets for Super Bowl XLIV in Miami — the New Orleans Saints beat the Indianapolis Colts, 31-17.
“I don’t do futures at all anymore because of zero accountability by these companies,” Siddiqui told TicketNews. “Last time I spoke to anyone there was [yoonew co-founder] Gerry Wilson last March.” Though he subsequently tried to reach Wilson over the past year, all of Siddiqui’s efforts were unsuccessful, as were his efforts to reach Wilson’s partner and co-founder Hagos Mehreteab.
When reached by TicketNews today, March 24, Wilson said he was no longer involved with yoonew’s business affairs, but he would try to find out where things stood. He declined to comment further.
Ticket futures sites essentially work in a similar fashion, weeks or months in advance, a customer buys an option on a team that they believe might make it to the playoffs or finals. Typically, those options do not cost much money, and over time they can resell that option, often for more money if the team is good. If the team makes the playoffs or finals, the buyer is either guaranteed a ticket, or the right to buy a ticket, but if the team does not make the playoffs or finals, they lose that money.
Yoonew hoped to have its financial obligations cleared up last year, but according to one of the company’s silent investors, who requested anonymity, yoonew has every intention of repaying the “handful” of customers who are still awaiting their money.
“They [yoonew] are waiting for a release of funds from another company [that owes yoonew money],” the investor said. “It’s not very much money, maybe $20,000 or so, but once they receive it they intend to pay back those last few customers. Only a handful are left, I believe.”
He declined to name the creditor, but the 2009 bankruptcy of yoonew’s payment processing company, Cynergy Data, LLC, reportedly hurt yoonew and contributed to the company’s decision to shut down.
With the rise of the secondary ticket market at the turn of the Millennium, several ticket futures companies — led by FirstDIBZ, yoonew and OptionIt — sought to capitalize on the growing interest in tickets to big-time sporting events, such as the Super Bowl, World Series and NBA finals.
Results have been mixed, at best, with yoonew shutting down, FirstDIBZ nearly shutting down and subsequently trying to reinvent itself after falling victim to a massive fraud and OptionIt remaining open but also having to fight the lawsuit brought on by FirstDIBZ.