A new player in the ticket discounting business is launching today, June 6, adding a twist to the traditional ticket selling model.
CrowdSeats.com sells sports tickets through a model similar to that of the popular deals site Groupon: subscribers are emailed daily deals, which they may accept or reject. In order for the deal to be available to any subscribers, however, it must first be “tipped,” meaning that enough subscribers must accept the deal to meet the “minimum purchase level” for that particular offering. Once this number is reached, the offer will be on and open to all. Subscribers can follow the process throughout the day by checking the deal page’s “scoreboard,” which notes how much time is left to accept the deal and how many users have already accepted it. Crowd Seats will offer its first daily deal once subscribership hits 2,000 members.
“We are the first daily deals/group buying site exclusive to the sports industry,” Justin Cener, the 23-year-old founder of the Los Angeles, CA-based company, told TicketNews. “Sports tickets and group buying are the perfect match.”
The company is entering a very challenging market, with Groupon recently teaming up with Live Nation; the recently launched SaveFans.com; and the rapidly growing ScoreBig all gobbling up a piece of the distressed ticket inventory pie.
Cener sees great benefits to both sellers and buyers in offering sports tickets through a daily deals model, which can result in deeply discounted prices: “Not only will teams generate revenue from otherwise perishable inventory, they’ll also generate revenue through Fan Cost Index items such as parking, food, souvenirs, etc. Based on our case study reviewing 50-plus sports ticket deals on other popular group buying sites, NBA teams are taking in an average of $50,000 revenue per game from these deals. The NHL and MLS are close behind with equally impressive numbers. Fans, of course, benefit greatly from ticket prices 50 percent to 90 percent off face value, with no added fees.”
The company, which works directly with sports teams, event organizers and venues (no ticket brokers so far), has developed relationships with teams in the Los Angeles and New York City areas. Though unwilling to identify the teams at this time, Cener reports that his sports ticketing/daily deals model has met with positive feedback from his initial clients.
Crowd Seats’ business model calls for teams to receive 60 to 70 percent of all revenue from sales, with specific rates to be determined on a case-by-case basis. The company’s first clients, however, will see more lucrative terms for selling through the site. Crowd Seats’ revenue will come from the remaining percentage of each ticket sold. Ticket providers hold the inventory, not Crowd Seats, and must set aside a maximum number of tickets for the site to have an offer for the deal of the day.
The founder sees unlimited potential for growth in his company, which to this point has received no outside funding. The initial plan is to focus on the large metropolitan areas of Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Chicago and San Francisco, and to expand over time as business grows. But nationwide sales are not necessarily the company’s final goal: “Worldwide growth is also part of our plan,” Cener said, “as group buying is just as big in Europe as it is in the U.S. Any regional area with multiple sports teams is part of our growth plans.”