SeatGeek is launching a new way to give ticketbuyers a better sense of exactly what they’ll see from a given seat.
The new feature, called Pano, offers a 360-degree view of the empty venue — you can look around in all directions, Street View-style, and you can also jump to different parts of the stadium to compare the view from the different seats.
“It’s super powerful comparing two different tickets,” said software engineer Ed Kelley. “Is it worth it to pay $20 to sit one section in front? You can see that inventory comparison — with interactive panoramas, it’s almost like you’re sitting there.”
Kelley told me that the Panos are created by using a spherical DSLR camera and a robotic tripod to take hundreds of photos around the stadium, which are then stitched together to create a 3D model of the venue.
He emphasized that the Pano feature isn’t replacing SeatGeek’s 2D stadium maps. He said that over time, it could also incorporate other media like YouTube or Instagram videos to convey what the stadium is like when it’s filled with cheering fans.
SeatGeek has already created its first model — Children’s Mercy Park, the home of Sporting Kansas City. (You can explore the model here.)
“We’re delighted with the Pano technology SeatGeek has provided us at Sporting Kansas City for 2017 and beyond,” said Gregg Allen, vice president of ticket sales and service at Sporting Kansas City, in a statement provided by SeatGeek. “First-time buyers will undoubtedly enjoy this very fan-centric element of the buying process, and help validate their purchase decision before attending the match.”
Co-founder Russ D’Souza told me that the company will continue rolling this out with more venues, starting with other participants in the SeatGeek Open program.
As for whether most fans really need such a detailed preview before buying a ticket, D’Souza said that SeatGeek has consistently found that as it provides “a more realistic understanding of what you’re going to get at the venue,” customers are more likely to make that purchase.