TC50: SeatGeek Is The Farecast For Sports And Music Tickets

Lots of people purchase tickets for events like sports games, rock concerts, etc. on secondary markets like eBay or StubHub, where they can often be picked up at huge discounts. Of course, it’s a bit of a challenge to know when to make a move and buy tickets exactly.

The main problem with buying tickets on secondary markets is that you have no clue if they reached their lowest price already or if you should be well off exercising some patience and let the price drop a bit more. Enter SeatGeek, launching at the TechCrunch50 conference today, which offers a service that basically forecasts ticket prices on secondary markets so you can make educated decisions on when to break out your wallet.

SeatGeek developed a bot that crawls hundreds of secondary market websites every day to aggregate information on transactions like the amount of money tickets are going for and other factors that have an effect on pricing. The startup actually takes into account a very broad set of relevant factors. For instance, when they track baseball games they not only trace the prices of tickets but also if the game was on a weekend, what the weather was like, who was pitching and so on.

SeatGeek can go over this multitude of records in their database and analyze historical price points for events, enabling them to forecast what the pricing pattern for secondary tickets is going to look like for future similar events. Buyers can sign up to get notified when the price drops to the rock bottom as predicted by their system and simply purchase only once it does. And the good thing is even sellers can benefit from the forecasting model because they can use it to determine when they should be unloading their tickets.

SeatGeek offers a free version for buyers and will soon release a premium version for brokers and other sellers. SeatGeek also gets 7 to 10% of ticket sales thanks to affiliate relationships with ticket brokers. They’re also preparing the roll-out of a ‘ticket insurance’ product, where users get compensated if SeatGeek doesn’t provide accurate forecasts.

Expert panel Q&A:

Q – Roelof Botha: I like it, like I like Farecast (which did pretty well). Is your goal to become the primary site to go to to get tickets, and wouldn’t that hurt the brokers?

A: we’re helping them, we’re doing marketing for them. We’ve spoken to them and they’re supportive of what we’re doing.

Q – Paul Graham: What percentage can you predict, e.g. baseball games?

A: In average, 40% of baseball games that are sold out. Overall, I don’t know. We’re directionally correct 80% of the time.

Q – Marc Andreessen: How high is up? How big can it get?

A: The size of the secondary ticket market, $15 billion a year.

Q – Paul Graham: why do you make a consumer website, why not use it and resell tickets yourself?

A: We thought about it, but the downside is the initial capital injection. Half the battle is acquiring tickets, brokers are good at it and we’re not it, so we focus on providing tools to help them and buyers. We think the opportunity is bigger by not doing it ourselves and letting consumers use our tools.



Extra coverage:
TC50: SeatGeek tells you when to buy tickets VentureBeat.
SeatGeek: A Prediction Market for Concert and Sports Tickets FastCompany.
Ticket Buying Gets All Smart Like Gear Patrol. Launches (Live from TC50) SheBlogs.