SeatGeek hired Greg Warden as its VP of Engineering, indicating a potential plan to embrace the future potential of blockchain ticketing. Warden comes to the New York-based ticket resale marketplace and burgeoning primary operator from Chainalysis, where he worked with the same title.
“We brought Greg on because of his experience and expertise disrupting old enterprise software,” said Brian Murphy, CTO SeatGeek in a press release from the company announcing the hire. “Greg will help us on our mission to push the old ways of ticketing into the 21st century as live events ramp up again.”
Chainalysis is a “top crypto and blockchain technology analysis company” according to the release. Warden will lead the enterprise engineering teams “as they continue to develop new technology to transform what a ticket can be.”
Based on prior media comments, that may very well be a move to use blockchain technology to effectively strip consumers of their rights to do anything with tickets that SeatGeek’s clients don’t want to allow them to do. In April, SeatGeek chief product officer Eric Waller made the companies plans for that sort of ecosystem involving its enterprise clients plain.
“I think what a lot of teams are most excited about is, if we put our tickets on the blockchain, can we collect a royalty on every resale and can we always know who’s in every seat,” he told SportTechie in April. “I think that’s something we hope to get to eventually.”
The implementation of such technology would hardly be the first attempt by rights-holders to use technology to monopolize the ticketing operation. Ticketmaster’s anti-resale SafeTix rotating barcodes come to mind, as do other paperless systems employed by AXS that evolved out of FlashSeats.
Numerous states have taken steps to protect consumer ticket rights against such technological systems, including SeatGeek’s home state of New York. Rights-holders are not allowed to sell paperless tickets without giving consumers the option to purchase tickets in a freely transferrable method without approval of the primary marketplace or rights-holder. Connecticut, Virginia, and Colorado all have similar legislation in place, with numerous states considering such protections every year, against firce lobbying opposition from rights-holders and primary ticketing operators alike – presumably to be joined by SeatGeek if it continues to move towards the blockchain monoploly business proposition for its enterprise clients.
SeatGeek is currently the primary ticketing vendor for the Dallas Cowboys, New Orleans Saints, New Orleans Pelicans, Cleveland Cavaliers, Manchester City FC, and a number of Major League Soccer clients and theatres.