SaveFans.com is a relatively new player in the secondary ticketing space, offering visitors the chance to purchase their tickets by entering their desired price and learning if it is accepted. Founder and CEO Wes Brodsky describes the model as “Priceline meets StubHub.”
And he should know. A long time seller on eBay and StubHub, Brodsky formed the Los Angeles-based SaveFans in 2008 with the aim of selling tickets using a bid- based model. Brodsky views this model as much more efficient than traditional ticket sale models, whether from primary sellers who sell tickets in priced tiers or from secondary sellers who may make a profit on hot tickets but lose money on the less desirable ones in their inventory.
At the SaveFans site, a prospective buyer has the option to search by artist/team or city, or instead may choose from a list of upcoming events displayed on the home page. Next, a list of matching tickets appears, with the buyer welcome to make one or more offers on these tickets. Prospective buyers can make as many offers as they like, but any offer that is accepted must be paid for. Alternatively, a user can make a “quick offer” in which he/she lists a maximum price desired, and a list appears with tickets up to and including that price. Currently buyers pay a flat $5 transaction fee per purchase, but this fee will be discontinued with the launch of the company’s updated site in July. Sellers pay a 15 percent transaction fee, and this will remain in place with the new site. SaveFans provides verification of its inventory by securing a credit card number from each seller in the event that a purchased ticket is not valid at the gate. At the time of the event, venues provide feedback on which purchased tickets have been scanned.
In addition to customer support staff, the company has four full-time employees with backgrounds in the ticketing, entertainment and internet commerce fields. SaveFans’ board boasts current and former executives from a number of big ticketing and internet intererests like Ticketmaster, Evite, and Warner Brothers. Present inventory includes tickets from numerous sources, including brokers, teams, artists and venues.
New seed funding of $500,000, secured from actor/comedian Jamie Kennedy, will be used to update and improve the functionality of the SaveFans Web site. In a recent interview with TicketNews, Brodsky detailed the expected changes: “We have a completely new site design and UI launching this summer, which we will market aggressively via social and traditional media. Along with the site launch, we will be rolling out an inventory bulk uploader tool, API, and mobile services.”
In addition, the funding should help the young company to build and solidify its present and future relationships with ticket providers, the names of whom Brodsky says are kept confidential per his providers’ request, “to protect their brand and primary price points”.
Brodsky welcomes the competition coming from other offer-based ticketers like ScoreBig.com, but he is quick to make distinctions between his company and the two year old ScoreBig, also based in LA. “We are excited that ScoreBig has entered into this space of demand-side, dynamic ticket pricing. While we have a similar offer-process, our target audience is actually quite different. ScoreBig seems to be going after the casual fan – someone that makes purchasing decisions based purely by the magnitude of a deal. ScoreBig’s audience is able to attend events of underwhelming demand, and can tolerate not knowing where their seat is located. We are focusing on bringing deals to the entire spectrum of the ticket market, attracting the casual purchaser, as well as the die-hard fan. As an open-marketplace, we allow anyone to buy and sell a ticket, for any event, in any quantity, at any price point (no face value restrictions).” Indeed, the site isn’t just for the benefit of buyers, says Brodsky, who notes that SaveFans can provide a place for sellers to unload inventory that may not be moving in other arenas.
Brodsky also highlights the ability of users to learn their prospective seat location, which ScoreBig does not offer. “Our marketplace is transparent, so buyers can always see the exact location of the tickets they are making an offer on, and, as a feedback point, can always see a seller’s asking price.”
Overall, Brodsky sees his company as an important link between buyers and sellers in the secondary market, a link that is unique to the current ticketing space. “Our negotiation process bridges the pricing gap between buyers and sellers that traditional secondary ticket marketplaces like StubHub do not – allowing consumers to get the best possible price, and sellers to maximize profits by realizing some revenue for tickets that may have otherwise gone unsold.”